Elections B.C. has added dedicated local teams to handle the record number of mail-in ballots for Saturday’s provincial election, which have to be sent out to all 87 electoral districts to make sure people haven’t voted twice.
If the result is close, individual MLA results and even the overall winning party may not be known on election night, and close counts could be delayed beyond the two-week window after election day that Elections B.C. reserves for final counts.
Polls close at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, and results will be posted at results.elections.bc.ca as advance polling and election-day ballots are. Watch for coverage of the provincial and local results Saturday evening on this Black Press Media website.
Extra local staff are prepared to handle absentee and mail-in ballots in each constituency, Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman said Oct. 23. As of midnight Oct. 22, Elections B.C. had received 478,900 returned vote-by-mail packages, about two thirds of the total sent out as voters made arrangements for a surprise election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s too late to mail packages back for counting, but completed mail-in votes can be dropped off at local Elections B.C. offices or polling places on election day.
Because voter identification is checked locally at advance polls and on election day, the mail-in and absentee ballots have to be sent from Elections B.C.’s Victoria headquarters back to each constituency to be checked off against the list of people who voted in person. Due to volume, the usual 13-day window for processing mail-in and absentee ballots may have to be extended beyond Nov. 6 before a final count is conducted. The final count may be delayed in some constituencies, depending on the volume of mail-in and absentee ballots.
Due to the volume, Elections B.C. officials intend to post daily totals of mail-in ballots counted. Many of the early ballot packages sent out were write-in ballots, as nominated candidates were not all known. To be valid, write-in votes have to contain the name or party affiliation of the local candidate.
Recounts are conducted if the preliminary count is within 100 votes of being a tie between two candidates. After final counts are completed, candidates have six days to request a judicial recount to examine questionable ballots.