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Mail-in ballots due by the middle of October: Elections BC

Last Updated Sep 29, 2020 at 11:49 am PDT

(CityNews)
Summary

B.C. voters wanting to mail in their ballots must do so no later than Oct. 17

Elections BC assures voters that every ballot will be counted, and that the process will be accurate and secure

Elections BC says simple spelling mistakes will not nix a ballot as long as the intention is clear

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The more than 400,000 voters who have already requested mail-in ballots from Elections BC and those planning do to so must submit them no later than Oct. 17.

Elections BC is also cautioning the winner and the party that will form government may not be known on election day, Oct. 24., because of all the mail-in ballots expected due to COVID-19.

But as with past votes, Andrew Watson, with Elections BC, assures voters that every ballot will be counted, and that the counting process will be as accurate and secure as ever.

“Certainly, we encourage voters to request the package as soon as they can and no later than Oct. 17, and then return to Elections BC as soon as they can, as well, so that we receive it by 8 p.m. PT on Oct. 24,” he said.

“And the important reminder there is that we have to receive the completed package by that date. Voters can’t put it in the mail on Election Day.”

Elections BC is adding resources for election night, but anticipates up to 35 per cent of votes cast will be mailed-in, up from the typical one per cent.

Watson added every single ballot will be verified to ensure no one has cast more than one ballot.

The counting process, though, usually happens after election day and takes a couple of days.

But with hundreds of thousands of ballots coming by mail instead of a few thousand, how quickly that can occur isn’t clear.

“Our focus will be to do it as fast as absolutely possible, but still ensuring that we’re meeting the legislative requirements and ensuring that the integrity of the system is maintained,” Watson said.

Elections BC says simple spelling mistakes will not nix a ballot as long as the intention is clear, as some voters will need to write in a candidate or party name because ballots are going out before nominations are closed.

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“Voters may indicate the name of a party or candidate running in their electoral district. If there is a spelling mistake in the party or candidate’s name but the voter’s intention is clear, the vote will be counted,” says a tweet.

The final count isn’t made official until 13 days after election, to rule out duplicate votes.

“So all of the mail-in ballots all the other absentee ballots are screened and reviewed to make sure that didn’t happen, and that can’t take place to make sure that someone didn’t try to cast a ballot on election day and also try to cast a mail-in ballot,” Watson added.

There could also be recounts for close races. So final results may not be known until weeks after the election.

So far, 431,000 voters have requested mail-in ballots.

In 2017, 6,400 B.C. voters mailed in ballots.

B.C. has more than three million eligible voters.

The NDP won 41 seats in the 2017 B.C. election. The Liberals took 43 seats, while the Greens won three.

B.C. is not the only province having a pandemic provincial election.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe met with the lieutenant-governor Tuesday to ask him to dissolve the legislature.

New Brunswick held a provincial election earlier this month, which resulted in a majority government.