VANCOUVER -- British Columbia may see a massive increase in the number of residents choosing to vote by mail in this fall's provincial election.

According to new data from Research Co., 29 per cent of likely voters in B.C. said they intend to cast their ballots by mail.

In the last provincial election, Elections BC says 6,375 valid vote-by-mail ballots were counted, or about 0.33 per cent of the total number of valid votes cast.

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they recalled voting in person on election day in the last provincial election, but only 28 per cent said they are planning to vote this way on Oct. 24.

“The concept of postal voting is particularly attractive for likely voters on Vancouver Island (32 per cent) and the Fraser Valley (also 32 per cent),” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., said in a statement Monday.

“A similar proportion of those who reside in Metro Vancouver (29 per cent) would also currently prefer to vote by mail.”

Voting by mail proved to be more popular for older demographics, with 33 per cent of likely voters aged 35 to 54 and 31 per cent aged 55 and older saying they would choose that option. Twenty-one per cent of likely voters aged 18 to 34 said they would vote by mail.

But the number of people who said they intend to vote during the advanced voting period actually decreased from 2017, falling from 36 to 27 per cent.

Ninety per cent of British Columbians felt either very confident or moderately confident in Elections BC being able to oversee the voting process in this year’s election.

“Sizable proportions of likely voters also express confidence in Elections BC to ensure that there is no fraudulent activity with mailed ballots (82 per cent) and to enforce social distancing at polling stations (74 per cent),” Research Co.’s statement reads.

Elections BC says it’s already received about 431,000 requests for vote-by-mail packages since the election was called.

Those who requested mail-in ballot packages before Oct. 2 will receive a write-in ballot.

The online survey was conducted from Sept. 21 to 23 among 750 likely voters in B.C. The data was statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region of the province. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.