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Postal workers confident they can handle bump in B.C. election mail-in ballots

FILE - A Canada Post employee climbs into a mail truck. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)
Summary

Postal Workers aren't worried about being burdened with mail-in ballots for the upcoming provincial election

Elections BC is anticipating as many as 800,000 votes by mail for the Oct. 24 election

As of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Elections BC had already received 20,000 mail-in ballot requests

VANCOUVER (NEW 1130) — Postal Workers aren’t worried about being burdened with mail-in ballots for the upcoming provincial election, according to their union.

Elections BC is anticipating as many as 800,000 votes by mail for the Oct. 24 election, set Monday after Premier John Horgan requested Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

As of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Elections BC had already received 20,000 mail-in ballot requests.

Coleen Jones, Pacific director for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, doesn’t expect an increase in ballots to pose a problem for carriers.

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“We’ve been up and running throughout this whole pandemic. We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of parcels because of folks doing a lot of online shopping,” she said,

So the ballots are just more mail, she added.

“We’re already out there doing this work.”

However, Jones doesn’t recommend people hand their ballots directly to mail carriers because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. She said it’s better to put them in mail boxes or drop them off at Canada Post offices.

“Letter carriers don’t always take mail back with them. It goes into a mailbox, so I think people’s safest bet, if you don’t want to use a street letter box, just going into an actual post office, because they have secure boxes inside the post office.”

Elections BC anticipates up to 35 per cent of votes cast in the upcoming provincial election will be mailed-in, up from the typical one per cent normally seen during an election.

In 2017, 6,500 mail-in ballots were cast in B.C.