An unprecedented number of voters in this BC election are intending to cast their ballot by mail.
Andrew Watson, with Elections BC, goes over the numbers here in the Cariboo…
“In Cariboo North we’ve sent out just over two thousand, and in Cariboo-Chilcotin around 3,100. So we’ll see in those ridings and around the province how many are returned by voters, and we should have that information a few days after election day.”
Watson says there have been more than 720 thousand requests for mail-in packages in BC, which is up from just 62-hundred in 2017.
Of those, he says about 400 thousand have been returned.
Watson says mail-in voting has traditionally been used by voters who are outside of BC during an election, but with COVID that has changed, so they’ve had to make some adjustments…
“In the past they’ve almost always been returned by mail. But this election we recognize that a lot more voters are using this method of voting, so we’ve established voting places as one potential drop off location, in addition to the District Office, or as I mentioned some Service BC locations.”
Watson says the voting places option is obviously only good on Saturday.
He says people with mail-in packages must now drop them off in person , and he says if they chose to vote in person, they need to destroy their vote by mail package and not return it to Elections BC.
Watson says mail-in ballots aren’t counted on election night…
“They are counted at what’s called final count because they need to be screened first before being counted to make sure that multiple voting hasn’t occurred. Usually final count doesn’t start until 13 days after election day because it does take time to screen all of the ballots that we’re talking about, and then the count itself is around three days. But with a really historic and unprecedented volume of mail-in packages we’ve seen this election, that timeline could be extended.”
As a result, it is possible that the winners in some ridings in the province won’t be known on election night on Saturday.