Modernizing the Voting Process
Following changes to the Election Act in 2019 and the 2020 Provincial General Election, we’re working to modernize the voting process for provincial elections in B.C.
The changes include using electronic tabulators to count paper ballots and laptops to look up voters and cross them off the voters list. These changes will make voting faster and easier.
The changes do not include online voting or using electronic voting machines.
Other key benefits include:
- A first-come, first-served model to reduce line ups at voting places
- Close to real-time participation data for parties and candidates to support get-out-the-vote efforts
- Faster results
- Almost all ballots will be counted on election night
- Preliminary results will be reported shortly after voting closes on election night
- Fewer ballots will be counted after election day and the final count of mail-in and absentee ballots may happen sooner
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Elections BC working on right now?
- We’re modernizing how we run provincial elections, which means improving processes and introducing new technology.
- Introducing technology impacts many processes affecting voters, political participants and election officials – everything from how voters line up to collect and cast their ballot, to how scrutineers from political campaigns observe the process, to how election officials issue and count ballots. Read our 2019/20 Annual Report, Modern Elections for Modern Times, for more details on our progress so far.
Does this mean I’ll be able to vote online? What kind of new technology will be used?
- No. You won’t be able to vote online and we’re not going to use digital voting machines. Paper ballots will still be used to make sure the election is secure.
- In the next election, we’ll use electronic tabulators to count paper ballots, electronic voting books to cross voters off the voters list, and ballot printers so that voters voting outside of their electoral district can fill in a ballot with their candidates on it. These changes will provide better service to voters, speed up ballot counting, and let us release the election results almost immediately after voting closes.
- All technology will go through rigorous testing to ensure accuracy and integrity before it is used.
- This technology has been successfully used in other provinces, including Ontario and New Brunswick, and in local elections in B.C.
What will these changes look like when voting in person?
- Next time you go to vote in person you will be served by the first available election official, instead of having an assigned voting station.
- You’ll still use a paper ballot, but instead of dropping the ballot in a box, you’ll feed it into a tabulator for counting. (Your paper ballot will be kept in case of a recount.)
- Once you’ve voted, election officials will use an electronic voting book to strike your name off the voters list. This lets other voting places know who has voted so no one can vote twice.
- After voting closes, election officials will be able to tabulate and report the results almost immediately, providing fast and accurate results.
Why is Elections BC making these changes?
- These changes are a result of legislation, the Election Amendment Act, 2019. They are intended to make voting more efficient and accessible, provide better service to voters and political participants, and provide faster results on election day.