What voting will look like during a pandemic: From PPE to bringing your own pen
VANCOUVER -- The writs have been issued and the date has been set: British Columbians will head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 24.
But the snap election announced Monday won't be business as usual, as the province is still amidst a pandemic.
So what will be different this year?
Elections BC outlined some changes voters will see when they cast their ballots.
Physical distancing measures will be in effect. Additionally, voting centres will have capacity limits in line with advice from the provincial health officer.
Election officials will be wearing personal protective equipment, including masks or face visors, and protective barriers may be installed.
Hand sanitizing stations will be installed, and voting stations will be frequently cleaned, Elections BC says.
Voters will be encouraged to wear a mask, and will be asked to sanitize their hands before and after voting.
And instead of signing a book, voters will be asked to say out loud that they are eligible to vote.
Those who prefer it can bring their own pen or pencil from home.
Advanced voting will open Oct. 15, and those places will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Anyone who feels sick or his self-isolating is asked to request a vote-by-mail package instead of showing up at a polling station.
Typically about one per cent of ballots are cast by mail, Elections BC says, but this year that percentage may be as high as one-third.
Voters are advised to request and return their packages as soon as possible, as only those received by Elections BC by 8 p.m. on Oct. 24 will be eligible.
Read more on Elections BC's website.
The agency says planning for the possibility of an election began in April, and part of that process included surveying voters.