What you need to know for voting in Victoria’s upcoming byelection

What you need to know for voting in Victoria's upcoming byelection

The City of Victoria has released important voting information regarding the upcoming byelection, scheduled to be held on Dec. 12.

The byelection is being held in order to fill one vacant Councillor seat on Victoria’s City Council, left vacant when Laurel Collins resigned in November 2019 after being elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament.

At this point in time, eleven candidates have submitted their nomination papers and a final list will be finalized and declared on November 16.

The City says that it will be releasing an online ‘Candidate Profile Guide’ on Nov. 17 in order to help voters make an informed choice.

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.

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 (An accessible voting machine will be available.)
  • Victoria High School at SJ Willis Education Centre, 923 Topaz Avenue

Advance Voting

Similar to the provincial election that just took place, the City of Victoria says there will be advance voting options ahead of December 12.

An advance polling station will be open at the Crystal Garden – 713 Douglas Street – in the week prior to the byelection, giving voters more options.

The schedule for the Crystal Garden polling station is below:

  • Tuesday, December 1, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 2, 8 a.m.– 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 3, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.
  • Friday, December 4, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 5, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.
  • Monday, December 7, 8 a.m.– 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 8, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 9, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.

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.

Accessible voting machines will be available during advance voting and on election day as well to assist anyone with disabilities. According to the release, 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. Mail-in ballots must be received before 8 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 12 in order for it to be counted. Officials are recommending that voters send their mail-in ballots by Friday, Dec. 4. If a voter misses this date, the City is recommending that packages be placed in the drop box at the Pandora Ave. entrance of City Hall or taken to any of the polling stations.

Additional Information
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.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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