You’ll be forgiven if you feel like mailing it in, this round of municipal elections.
All three North Shore municipalities will allow voters to cast their ballots via mail if they choose this time around. Previously, the province only allowed people to vote by mail in limited circumstances, like if they knew they would be away during the election or if there was something physically preventing them from accessing a polling station. In 2021, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs changed that rule.
“Any eligible elector is able to request a mail ballot voting package for this election,” said Christine Baird, deputy election officer for the City of North Vancouver. “Whatever the reasons are, there is no requirement that needs to be specified.”
Hopes for voter turnout
Over the last five municipal elections going back to 2005, the City of North Vancouver has averaged a voter turnout of about 25 per cent. The highest in recent years was 34 per cent in the 2018 election.
In West Vancouver, the average over the last five general elections was 31.8 per cent voter turnout, 38.3 per cent being the highest in 2018.
The District of North Vancouver, meanwhile, has averaged 25.6 per cent voter turnout in the last five elections, again, with the highest being in 2018 – 36.24 per cent.
The average voter turnout across B.C. in 2018 was 35.6 per cent.
The hope is that giving another convenient option to exercise one’s franchise will spur more people to do it.
“If we can increase those numbers, it’s definitely good,” Baird said.
How to get a ballot:
As is often the case, all three North Shore municipalities are making the same move, albeit with some differences.
City of North Vancouver
You can complete the request form from city's election page online.
The applicant must provide scanned copies of two pieces of identification to show proof of name and residential address, and one of the pieces of identification must also include the elector's signature.
The deadline to request a ballot is Oct. 10, although any ballots requested after Oct. 5 must be picked up in person at municipal hall.
Anyone who fears they may miss the deadline to have their ballot arrive in time to be counted can drop it off in person with the chief electoral officer up until 8 p.m. on Oct. 15. Ballots received after the deadline cannot be counted.
District of North Vancouver
To receive a mail ballot in the District of North Vancouver, voters must first fill out a form and submit their ballot request form to the municipality by Sept. 21. The forms can be found on the district's elections page and submitted via firstname.lastname@example.org, or be dropped or dropped off in person at district hall.
“Applications received after September 21 may not allow sufficient time for a mail ballot package to be mailed to you and returned by mail. If time does not permit reliance on the mail system, we recommend that you arrange to pick up your mail ballot package in person from district hall,” a statement on the district’s website reads. “Completed mail ballots may be returned to the chief Election Officer by mail or dropped in the district hall mail slot at the front door. Mail ballots may not be dropped off at voting locations on general voting day or advance voting days.”