With a record number of mail-in ballots distributed to voters throughout the province, Elections BC is hoping to educate voters on a variety of ways to ensure their vote is counted for the upcoming provincial election.

Andrew Watson with Elections BC recommends completed ballots are mailed by Oct. 17 to ensure delivery by election day on Oct. 24. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. in order to be counted.

To request a mail-in ballot, Watson notes it is possible to do so online or by phone (1-800-661-8683) by Oct.17. After 8 p.m. on that day, voters will not be able to request a vote-by-mail package online or by phone but can request a ballot from a district electoral office.

“There is legislation that notes we can give out mail-in ballots by 4 p.m. on election day. For example, someone who may have accessibility challenges can call their local electoral office and have a family member pick up their package and return the ballot after the individual marks it that day.”

Completed mail-in ballots past the Oct.17 deadline can be dropped off at any voting place during advance voting (from Oct. 15 to 21) or on general voting day on Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Additionally, Watson explains mail-in ballots can also be dropped off at district electoral offices or a participating Service BC offices.

With more than 680,000 mail-in voting packages requested as of Oct.14, Watson says this is “absolutely” the most requested for a provincial election within B.C.

On election night, ballots counted as part of the ‘initial count’ are those at polling stations only. During a preparatory period of 13 days, mail-in ballots are screened to ensure the voter is registered and ballots have not been duplicated. Generally, it takes between two to three days following the preparatory period to count mail-in ballots, however, Watson notes due to the increase in numbers, counting could take longer and the final election results will not be confirmed until the count is complete.

For more information, visit elections.bc.ca.

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