Voting Place

B.C.’s Next Election

B.C.’s next provincial election is scheduled for Saturday, October 16, 2021. It could take place earlier if the government decides to call an election or loses the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.

The COVID-19 pandemic makes it very likely that the next election will be held under some level of public health restrictions. As a result, we are actively planning and consulting with stakeholders to ensure our next election is safe and accessible for voters, election workers, and political participants. We want to make sure that voters don’t have to choose between exercising their right to vote and safeguarding their health.

Our consultations include ongoing dialogue with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and members of the Election Advisory Committee. We have also surveyed British Columbians to hear their perspective on voting during a pandemic.

Some of the steps we’re planning for include:

  • Increased advance voting opportunities to help reduce crowds in voting places
  • Increased use of remote voting options (e.g.: vote-by-mail, telephone voting) for voters who are at-risk, unable to attend a voting place, or concerned about voting in person
  • Safe voting practices within voting places, such as:
    • Maintaining two metres distance from other individuals and groups
    • Guidance and signage to ensure physical distancing
    • Maximum occupancy of 50 persons at any one time in voting places
    • Increased cleaning of voting stations
    • Provision of hand-sanitizer stations
    • Use of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and face-visors

We are also working with other Canadian election agencies and reviewing protective steps taken in other countries where elections have been held during the pandemic.

As the pandemic and recovery progress, we will continue to work under the guidance and directives of the Provincial Health Officer to keep the election process safe and accessible for all voters, election workers, and political participants.

Will the next election be postponed because of the pandemic?

It is unlikely the next provincial election will be postponed because of the pandemic, but it is possible depending on the level of public health risk at the time. During the initial weeks of the pandemic, a number of pending civic elections in B.C. were cancelled based on public health guidance. These elections are currently in the process of being re-scheduled.

The decision to call or postpone an election is the responsibility of the Premier and the Lieutenant Governor. Once an election has been called, the Chief Electoral Officer has the ability to change or defer the timing of an election if required to do so because of an emergency or extraordinary circumstances.

Any decision to postpone or change the timing of an election would be based on the public health risk at the time and guidance from the Provincial Health Officer. Any decision would very likely be preceded by consultation amongst legislators, political parties, medical authorities and Elections BC.

Will I be able to vote by mail?

Yes. All voters in a provincial election can request a vote-by-mail package from Elections BC. During a pandemic vote-by-mail is a good option for voters with underlying health conditions and for voters who do not wish to vote in person at a voting place. During the next election you will be able to request a vote-by-mail package on this website or by calling Voter Services at 1-800-661-8683.

Is Elections BC ready to administer an election during the pandemic?

Part of our role and mandate is to be ready to administer an election when required. As such, we are actively preparing to administer an election during the pandemic, and have begun those preparatory activities that have significant lead-times, including sourcing personal protective equipment for election officials and procuring large numbers of vote-by-mail packages. We are also determining where voting and counting processes will need to change to ensure that the safety of voters and election officials is maintained. As our planning progresses we will continue to engage with stakeholders and keep voters informed about what the voting process in the next election will look like.