British Columbia

How to vote: Here's what you need to know about casting your ballot on Oct. 20

British Columbians head to the polls on Oct. 20 to elect new municipal governments. In case the flurry of election information has you feeling muddled, CBC News has compiled everything you need to know to cast a ballot.

British Columbians head to the polls on Oct. 20 to elect new municipal governments

Advance polling has already opened in some B.C. municipalities. (iStock)

British Columbians head to the polls on Oct. 20 to elect new municipal governments and some municipalities have already opened the doors for advance voting.

Election turnout at the municipal level is notoriously low, however.

The last two local elections in Vancouver saw voter turnout hit 35 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively.

"As a voter, you have the power to elect the people you want to represent you and make decisions that will affect your everyday life," said Rosemary Hagiwara, chief elections officer for the City of Vancouver.

"When people vote they feel more connected to the community and it strengthens community involvement."

In case the flurry of election information has you feeling muddled, CBC News has compiled a list of everything you need to know to cast a ballot.

Municipal elections are not administered by Elections BC so information may vary. Be sure to check your own municipality's website for exact times and locations.

What am I voting for?

Each municipality will elect one mayor, a number of councillors and a number of school trustees. Vancouver and Cultus Lake will also elect park board commissioners.

Am I eligible to vote?

  • You must be 18 years of age or older on election day.
  • You must be a Canadian citizen. 
  • You must have lived in B.C. for at least six months immediately before registering to vote. 
  • You must have lived in your municipality for 30 days before registering to vote.*
  • You can not be disqualified by law from voting. 

*In some municipalities, you can bypass this by owning property registered in your name for 30 days immediately before registering to vote

When is election day?

General voting day is Oct. 20, 2018.

Most municipalities will open voting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but check with your municipality to verify.

What do I need to bring?

Each municipality may differ, but typically you will need two of the following pieces of ID to register to vote:

  • B.C. driver's licence.
  • B.C. identification card or B.C. services card (photo or no photo).
  • Owner's certificate of insurance and vehicle licence issued by ICBC.
  • B.C. CareCard or gold CareCard (must be separate from B.C. driver's Licence to be the second piece of ID).
  • Monthly report form for provincial social assistance. 
  • Social insurance card or a confirmation of social insurance number letter issued by the Government of Canada.
  • Citizenship card issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • A current property tax notice. 
  • Credit card or debit card issued by a savings institution. 
  • Utility bill issued for the supply of electricity, natural gas, water, telephone or cable services.

Some municipalities will mail out voter cards. Generally, you may bring the voter card and one piece of ID with you.

Where to vote?

Each municipality will provide specific voting locations. Be sure to check local websites to find the location nearest you.

What about advance voting?

Voters are able to cast their ballots early to avoid the queue, however, each municipality has set different days and locations for advance voting. Check your municipality's website for more information.

Can I send my ballot by mail?

Certain municipalities allow for mail-in ballots for eligible voters who meet certain requirements. Check with your municipality's website.

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