FILE – A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

More than 20,000 people have requested to vote by mail just one day after the writ was dropped for the 2020 B.C. election, according to Elections BC statistics from 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 22).

According to Elections BC, the agency can process up to 200,000 mail-in ballots in time for the final count, which is legislated to begin no less than 13 days after Election Day. However, this year Elections BC believes that up to 35 per cent of voters, or around 800,000 people, could opt to mail in their ballot. The final count is due to begin on Nov. 6, with writs of election scheduled to be returned on Nov. 16, although Elections BC said that could take longer if counting is delayed.

That’s up from a typical one per cent, making for a stronger possibility that mail-in ballots can shift the results. In 2017, 61.2 per cent, or nearly two million people, voted in the provincial election. Of those people, about 6,500 people mailed in their ballots.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday (Sept. 22), Election BC CEO Anton Boegman said the agency did not yet know when final election results would be available after the Oct. 24 vote.

“If there are 800,000 it will take longer, I don’t know how much longer, but it will take longer,” Boegman said, noting that the final count of mail-in and other absentee ballots is legislated and must ensure that no one votes more than once in B.C.

He added that it “is conceivable” that B.C. could be without a result for some amount of time, “give or take” at least about three weeks. While final results are typically not available until about 17 days post-election, Boegman said that 90 per cent of ballots – both advanced and from the day of – are counted on Election Day. With 35 per cent of ballots expected to be cast by mail this year, it’s unclear how long final counts will take and what affect they will have on the results.

Boegman said that if the election had been held in October 2021 as originally scheduled, the agency could have used electronic voter books and tabulation machines to speed up the counting of mail-in ballots.

As final counts are completed in each electoral district, each one will declare its winning candidates in real time.

Elections BC said schools, which made up 44 per cent of Election Day voting location in 2017, will only be used on days when students are not in school; Oct. 17-18 during advanced voting and on the Saturday election day on Oct. 24. Elections BC will pay to sanitize the schools after voting and no students will be present at those locations.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that although public health and Elections BC have run through various scenarios and believe a safe election can be held during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said however that each area in B.C. will be assessed as new COVID-19 cases are reported and will make decisions as needed.

READ MORE: Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nicole Cherlet, NDP, Samson Boyer, Green, Doug Clovechok, BC Liberal.
B.C. VOTES: Columbia River Revelstoke candidates debate one last time

Candidates discuss issues like affordable housing, healthcare, pandemic recovery

Above is a planning map that shows up-to-date cutting areas, reserve areas, trails, roads and landings. KNP file
Kimberley Nature Park logging imminent

In the area of Shapeshifter, Thunder Turkey, Mr. Toad, Jimmy Russell Road, the Front Boulevard, the Army Road and Bear Trail.

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

A Kimberley Speed Watch volunteer. Photo courtesy of Kimberley RCMP.
Kimberley RCMP thank Speed Watch volunteers for 2020 season

Speed Watch deployed 20 times and recorded speed of 4000 vehicles

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Most Read