Facts About Voting

Disinformation and misinformation in elections is a growing concern. It is vital that British Columbians have accurate, factual information about the electoral process, especially information about where and when they can vote in a provincial election.

The table below lists falsehood information and misperceptions that have come to Elections BC’s attention.

As an independent and non-partisan office, we are not responsible for fact-checking political claims or swaying political debates. However, when it comes to the electoral process, we are the experts and will take action to ensure voters have accurate information.

Scroll down or click on one of the topics below to see common false information—and correct information showing why it is false.

Voter ID

False information Correct information
Voters need photo ID to vote.Voters do not need photo ID to vote, but they do need to prove their identity and residential address. There are lots of ways to do this.

Voters can show photo ID that includes their name and address, or a Certificate of Indian Status. They can also show any two pieces of ID that show their name, one of which must show their address. Voters without ID can be vouched for.

Visit our Voter ID page for more information.

Voting by mail

False information Correct information
Voting by mail is susceptible to fraud.Voting by mail is a safe and secure way to cast your ballot.

The processes for voting by mail are designed with safeguards to prevent voter fraud, just like any other type of voting.

For example, voters must verify their identity before submitting their mail-in ballot. All mail-in ballots are screened to make sure only eligible voters vote, and that they only vote once.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about voting by mail.

Technology

False information Correct information
Electronic tabulators are not secure.Tabulators are a secure, proven way to count paper ballots.

Tabulators were used successfully in B.C.’s last four provincial by-elections. They have also been used successfully for years in B.C. local elections and referenda, as well as in other provincial jurisdictions such as Ontario (since 2018), New Brunswick (since 2014), Alberta and Manitoba.

Tabulators undergo rigorous testing before and after they are used to ensure they always count votes accurately.

Tabulators are never connected to the internet and are always in the care and custody of trained election officials.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about voting place technology.
False information Correct information
Electronic tabulators are voting machines.Tabulators are not the same thing as electronic voting machines.

Tabulators count voter-marked paper ballots, which are retained in case they are needed for a recount.

Electronic voting machines record votes without paper. (Voters cast their vote electronically.)

Elections BC uses tabulators, not voting machines.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about tabulators.
False information Correct information
Electronic tabulators can be pre-loaded with votes.Tabulators cannot be pre-loaded with votes.

Before voting begins at a voting place, election officials demonstrate to candidate representatives that no votes are stored in the tabulator.

This involves printing a zero tape from the tabulator that shows zero votes have been recorded. The zero tape remains attached to the tabulator, where candidate representatives can sign the tape before voting begins.

Once voting has closed, results will be printed on the same tape as the zero tape. Candidate representatives will know it’s the same tape because they signed it before voting began.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about our quality assurance program for counting votes.

Counting

False information Correct information
A recount is just another count using tabulators.Recounts in a provincial election are conducted by hand, or—in the case of a judicial recount—by a process selected by a justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

The Vote Counting Regulation requires that a recount of ballots considered at initial count must be conducted by hand.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about counting processes.
False information Correct information
Ballots placed in the tabulator auxiliary compartment are not countedBallots placed in a tabulator’s auxiliary compartment are counted.

The auxiliary compartment is in the ballot box attached to the tabulator. It is used to store ballots briefly if the tabulator is temporarily out of service. Ballots from the auxiliary compartment are fed into the tabulator once it is back in service.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about using the tabulator auxiliary compartment.
False information Correct information
Ballots are always counted by hand after being counted by a tabulator.For the 2024 provincial election, most voting places will use tabulators to count paper ballots.

Tabulators go through extensive testing to make sure they accurately count ballots. This includes a post-election hand count of randomly selected tabulators. This hand count is conducted to prove the tabulators produced accurate results.

If results are close and a recount is required, the recount will be conducted by hand.

A small number of voting places will not use tabulators for logistical reasons (e.g. a remote voting place where it would not be practical to deploy tabulators). These voting places will count ballots by hand.

See the Guide to Voting and Counting for more information about when ballots are counted by hand.