Absentee Votes Explained
Prince George, B.C. – With the final result of B.C.’s 41st election still up in the air until around 176,000 absentee ballots are counted – 250News thought it would be worthwhile to ask Elections BC what exactly an absentee ballot is.
Communications Manger Andrew Watson says it’s a ballot cast under the absentee voting provisions of the Election Act.
“It can be a mail-in ballot, it could be a voter who voted at a district electoral office for when the election was called until 4 p.m. yesterday,” he says.
“There’s also special voting opportunities that are considered absentee ballots – so there are cases like remote work camps where Elections BC sends a team of election officials to administer voting or even to a hospital in some cases.
“And, those who voted during the advance voting period but outside of their district or voters who voted on General Voting Day but not at their assigned voting place.”
So why so long before the counting starts? (Not until May 22 – May 24).
“That timing is established in the Election Act and the reason for the gap between the initial count and the final count is because you can vote at any place in B.C. So, if you were in Prince George for example but you lived in Victoria, you would’ve voted for the candidates in your local riding,” Watson says.
“So, your absentee ballot cast in Prince George is actually sent to your home district in Victoria so it can be counted in that district during final count. Officials also do a lot of verification work on the certification envelopes containing absentee ballots, so that’s the reason for that time between initial and final counts.”
He adds Elections BC will be doing a lot of work between now and that final count.
“We’re sending these absentee ballots across the province, tracking them and entering them in our system.”
Watson adds a lot of vetting of the absentee ballots must take place, something he terms important “checks and balances.”
He says Elections BC aims to publish a break down of the number of absentee ballots by electoral district later this month.