The City of Victoria is getting ready for General Voting Day for the upcoming byelection, scheduled to be held on Saturday, Dec. 12.
The byelection is being held in order to fill a vacant seat on Victoria’s City Council, left empty when Laurel Collins resigned in November 2019 after being elected to the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament.
Eleven candidates have tossed their hat in the ring and Greater Victoria residents will have a chance to select the one, who they believe is most fit to join City Council.
To read more about each candidate, visit the Candidate Profile Guide on the City of Victoria’s website.
General Voting Day
Voting day is currently set for December 12 and polls will be open between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
According to the City of Victoria, there will be six voting places, each equipped with two voting machines for increased efficiency.
Eligible voters can visit any of the following locations on voting day in order to cast their ballot:
- James Bay Community School, 140 Oswego Street
- Oaklands Elementary School, 2827 Belmont Avenue
- Sir James Douglas Elementary School, 401 Moss Street
- Da Vinci Centre, 195 Bay Street
- Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas Street (Accessible voting machine available)
- Victoria High School at SJ Willis Education Centre, 923 Topaz Avenue
Advanced polls are now closed to the public and the next chance for residents to vote will be on Dec. 12.
Alternate voting options
The City of Victoria has outlined some alternative options for voters amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
According to the City, curbside voting will be available at polling stations for those with accessibility concerns. In a press release from the City, it says that a parking space at each voting place will be designated for accessible curbside voting. A sign will identify the parking space at polling locations and will feature a phone number to call. Byelection staff will proceed to come out to vehicles and assist voters with voting.
An accessible voting machine will be available at the Crystal Garden location to assist anyone with disabilities. According to the City, voters will be provided with headphones and their preferred selector device (i.e. a hand-held vote selector, paddles, or sip-and-puff) with which to vote via an audio voting session.
Eligible voters also have the option to mail in their ballots. Similar to the provincial election, voters must request a mail-in ballot package online at victoria.ca/election or over the phone by calling 250.361.0571. Any requested ballots can be picked up at Victoria City Hall.
Mail-in ballots must be received before 8 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 12 in order to be counted.
To ensure the City receives completed mail ballots in time, voters have two options to return their completed mail ballots in person:
- to the dropbox outside the Pandora Avenue entrance of City Hall
- or before 8 p.m. at one of the six voting places on General Voting Day
Crystal Garden Parking
The first hour of parking will be free for Victoria voters at the parking lot located under the Victoria Conference Centre. Voters must bring their parking ticket to the Crystal Garden for validation when voting. Two free, 30-minute on-street parking spaces will be available for voters in front of Crystal Garden. The first hour of parking is also free at Broughton Street Parkade, located under the Greater Victoria Public Library.
To be eligible to vote in Victoria’s 2020 By-Election, you must be 18 years or older on voting day, be a Canadian citizen, a resident of British Columbia for at least six months, a resident of the City of Victoria or a registered owner of property in Victoria for at least 30 days prior to voting day.
The City of Victoria says it will be running the byelection based on safety guidelines outlined by public health officials, Elections BC and WorkSafeBC.
The City says that all voting places will have protective measures in place, including physical distancing, capacity limits, and plexiglass protective barriers. Hand sanitizing stations will be provided and voters will be asked to sanitize their hands before and after voting. Election officials will wear masks or face-visors and there will be frequent cleaning of voting stations and high-touch surfaces. Pens will be provided for voting and will be sanitized between uses. People may also bring their own pen to vote.
Electors are also encouraged to wear masks when entering the voting location and will not be asked to remove their masks while voting. Anyone who is feeling ill or self-isolating are being asked not to visit a voting place and to request a mail ballot package.
The results of Victoria’s 2020 By-Election will be webcast live starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 12. Results will also be made available on cheknews.ca as soon as the election is called.