Voting in B.C.: How to cast a ballot in Canada's 2021 federal election
British Columbians heading to the polls on Monday may have a different experience than in past federal elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Polls in the western province are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and voters will notice several COVID-19 measures in place.
Here's what voters need to know:
DO I NEED TO BRING MY B.C. VACCINE CARD?
B.C.'s proof-of-vaccination system for many non-essential businesses and events kicked off last week. While those going to a restaurant, movie theatre, casino and to many other discretionary businesses need to show they've had at least one shot, the province said proof is not required to vote in-person in the federal election.
WHAT ID DO I NEED?
Those going to cast a ballot on Monday need to prove their identity and address. One option is to bring a piece of government-issued photo ID that has the voter's name and current address.
Alternatively, voters can bring two pieces of ID. Both must have the person's name on it and at least one must have their current address. In those cases, a voter information card and bank statement could work in combination, as could a utility bill and student card.
The third option is to have someone vouch for a voter at the polling station.
"You can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is assigned to your polling station vouch for you," Elections Canada says.
"The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care facilities)."
DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK?
Voters can expect to see some COVID-19 measures in place when they go to cast their ballot. All poll workers will be wearing masks and voters are asked to as well.
Last week, a spokesperson from Elections Canada said anyone who refuses to wear a mask will not be able to vote in the provinces and territories with an active indoor mask mandate.
"In order to maintain a safe and secure environment for electors and election workers, individuals who refuse to wear a mask where masks are required will be refused entry to the polling station," the statement read.
In B.C., masks are currently required in all indoor public settings. Elections Canada has suggested there may be masks available at polling stations for those who need one.
WHAT OTHER COVID-19 MEASURES WILL BE IN PLACE?
Other COVID-19 measures that will be in place include having hand sanitizer accessible, clear markers to help voters maintain a physical distance and poll workers being behind Plexiglas barriers. Single-use pencils will be available, but voters may bring their own pen or pencil if they'd prefer.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE COVID-19 OR AM SELF-ISOLATING?
Those isolating because of COVID-19 won't be able to vote unless they've previously applied to vote by mail.
"If someone has COVID, they should be in quarantine and that would make it impossible for them to show up at a polling place,” a spokesperson for Elections Canada told CTVNews.ca in an email.
According to Elections Canada’s online FAQ, voters should contact their local public health authority if they develop symptoms for next steps, but “after Tuesday, Sept. 14, electors who have or believe they have COVID-19 and who have not already applied to vote by mail will not be able to vote.”
IS IT TOO LATE TO VOTE BY MAIL?
Anyone who has not registered to vote by mail is longer able to, as the deadline for that was Sept. 14. Those who do have a mail-in ballot can drop off their kit to a local Elections Canada office before polls close. They can also be dropped off at any polling place in the voter's riding.
With files from CTVNews.ca
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