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Higher mail-in ballots, early votes change campaign course in B.C. election: expert

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Summary

Unlike previous elections, big party promises are expected earlier due to of mail-in ballots, early voting: expert

A political scientist says election promises will be like an inverted 'V' with a peak in the middle of the campaign

About 800,000 mail-in ballots are expected for B.C. this year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — With early and mail-in votes expected to be higher this election than ever before, B.C.’s political parties are having to navigate a new campaign course, including how the dole out platform promises, according to a political scientist.

David Moscrop says parties have to strike a delicate balance between encouraging people to vote early, ensuring people who have requested mail-in ballots actually cast them, and making sure those who haven’t voted before election day, get out and vote for them.

He says election promises will likely peak in the middle of the campaign.

“So you have a sort of an inverted ‘V’ curve of excitement as to what’s being announced,” he says. “I suspect you will get announcements until the end because you have to give people something, but the bigger stuff probably comes early.”

About 450,000 British Columbians have requested mail-in ballots, compared to 6,500 last election. And since Moscrop says about 800,000 mail-in ballots are expected along with early voting, parties need to lay it on the line early.

“Usually you see a curve that starts slow and sort of ramps up as people pay more attention to the election and as you get closer to election day. So things get more and more exciting and they get bigger and bigger as the election goes on and they sort of reach a crescendo right ahead of voting.”

Moscrop says the number of mail-in ballots will force a change in election promises.

“During the pandemic, given that there’s a lot of mail-in ballots in play that can be sent any time, and given that there’s going to be a high number of advance voting days, I think you are seeing the big stuff coming out earlier. Now that doesn’t mean there isn’t even bigger stuff down the road, but I doubt it.”

So far, the NDP has promised more than a billion for long-term care, while the Liberals said they’ll scrap PST for a year if they’re voted in.

The B.C. election is on Oct. 24.