How To: Vote in British Columbia Municipal Elections

by Apathy is Boring — October 13, 2011


British Columbians - duty is calling. An election is your chance to make your voice heard. Is it your first time? Don't be nervous. Just follow this step-by-step guide and cast your ballot like a pro.

 
Am I eligible to vote?
Am I registered to vote?
Where and when can I vote on election day?
What ID do I need to vote?
What if I can't make it to a polling station on election day?
What if I’m working on election day?
What if I'm living abroad or won't be in my riding during the election?
What if I’m a student living away from home?
What if I changed addresses recently?
Can I vote if I live on a reserve?
Where can I get more information about voting?
 
 

Am I eligible to vote?

 
To vote in a British Columbia municipal election you must be:
  • 18 years of age or older on election day;
  • A Canadian citizen;
  • A resident of British Columbia for at least six months before registering to vote;
  • A resident or property owner in that municipality for at least 30 days before registering to vote.
 
 

Am I registered to vote?

 

Most municipalities draw up a voters list before the election. If you live in Burnaby, Richmond, Saanich, or Vancouver, you can check online to see if you're registered by clicking on the link for your city.

If you aren't already registered, you can still register when you show up to vote. To register at the polls, you need bring two pieces ID: one to prove your identity (name and signature) and another to prove your current address.

 

Where and when can I vote on election day?

 
If you live in Burnaby,Richmond, Surrey, or Vancouver, you can find the location of your polling station by clicking on the link for your city. Otherwise, you can find the location of your polling station by contacting your local election agency.
 
Election day in British Columbia is November 19, 2011, and polls in most municipalities are open from 8am to 8pm.
 
 

What ID do I need to vote?

 

That depends on your municipality - it's best to check with them.
For most major cities, no ID is required to cast your ballot if you registered to vote in advance. However, if you aren't already registered, you will have to show two pieces of ID: one to prove your identity (name and signature) and another to prove your current address.

 
 

What if I can't make it to a polling station on election day?

 
Don't worry - you can still vote during advance polling or by mailing in a special ballot.
 
Advance polls are just like voting on election day, just earlier. Each municipality has at least one advance polling day. Contact your local election agency for locations and times.
 
If you can’t make it out on either election day or an advance polling days, some municipalities allow you to vote by mail using a special ballot. You can get more information about special ballots by contacting your local election agency.
 
 

What if I’m working on election day?

 
For BC municipal elections, your employer does not have to give you time to vote. Your best option is an advance poll or special ballot.
 
 

What if I'm living abroad or won't be in my riding during the election?

 
You may still be able to vote by mailing in a special ballot, depending on what municipality you live in. Check with your local election agency to find out.
 
 

What if I’m a student living away from home?

 
If you're going to school in BC, you can either vote in the municipality where you're living on election day or you can vote in your home municipality. For example, if you're from Kelowna and going to school in Vancouver, you can vote in either city. Of course, if you want to vote in your home municipality, you should check if they accept special ballots.Check with your local election agency for more information.
 
 

What if I changed addresses recently?

 
You must live in a municipality for at least 30 days before election day (November 19) to vote there.
 
 

Can I vote if I live on a reserve?

 
If you are eligible to vote and your reserve is located in a municipality, you can vote in that municipality's election.
 

Where can I get more information about voting?

 
Every municipality has an election agency that can help you and answer your questions. You can get in touch with them by contacting your local government. Here are the websites of the election agencies in some larger cities:
 
 
Check out our video message featuring Jian Ghomeshi, The Most Serene Republic, The Midway State, JRDN, Lauren Toyota, Nicole Holness, and Johnny Hockin, encouraging young voters to get out to the polls.

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