Elections BC has sent out almost 700,000 mail voting packages as of Oct. 14 with just under 3.5 million registered voters. (Black Press Media File)

Elections BC has sent out almost 700,000 mail voting packages as of Oct. 14 with just under 3.5 million registered voters. (Black Press Media File)

Vancouver Islanders lead the province in mail-in ballot requests

Saanich North and the Islands lingers just behind Victoria-Beacon Hill riding atop leader board

B.C. is voting by mail at unprecedented rates this fall and Vancouver Island is leading the way.

In the 14 Vancouver Island ridings the average request for mail-in ballots was 26 per cent with the low being North Island at 16.7 per cent and the high Victoria-Beacon Hill at 35.4 per cent.

This share is far ahead of the provincial ratio, which currently stands at 20 per cent, with Elections BC having issued a record 697,768 mail-in ballots with 3,485,858 million voters on the registration rolls. By comparison, 6,517 people voted by mail in 2017.

Andy Watson, a spokesperson with Elections BC, said the COVID-19 pandemic bears responsibility for the historic development.

“I think voters were looking for a remote voting option, where they are able to vote without having to go in person, ” he said. “Obviously, we have in-person opportunities as well and we have done a lot of work to make sure those are safe as well, but we wanted to give voters the options of either voting by mail or in person with pandemic protocols in place.”

RELATED: B.C. VOTES: 2020: Get those mail-in ballots in the post ASAP

RELATED: Mail-in ballot uptake in B.C. influenced by political leaning, geography

Watson said officials at Elections BC had estimated 35 per cent of voters (some 800,000) would vote by mail. “Certainly, we are getting close to that figure,” he said. (As of Oct. 14 Elections BC has received an estimated 148,200 returned vote-by-mail packages, representing approximately 21 per cent of packages issued to date).

Voters have until Oct. 17 to request a mail-in ballot. Elections BC must receive complete vote-by-mail packages before 8 p.m. on Oct. 24.

Watson said Elections BC is keeping up with requests, but added that voters requesting packages now will get their packages after the recommended date (Oct. 17) to return it by mail.

Voters can also still return off their mail-in votes in person, Watson said. “Instead of dropping it in a mail box, they would just take it to a district electoral office, a voting place during voting hours, or some Service BC locations would also accept them.”

Victoria-Beacon Hill leads all ridings in Greater Victoria and the province with 17,810 issued mail-in ballots, a share of 36.5 per cent when held up against registered voters. Saanich North and the Islands ranks second on Vancouver Island as well as the province in terms of absolute numbers, just ahead of Oak Bay-Gordon Head in third place for the region and the province with 15,450 issued mail ballots. When held up against the number of registered voters in that riding, nearly 36.4 per cent of registered voters in that riding have received mail-by-vote ballots.

When measured against registered voters, Saanich South has a request rate of nearly 33.5 per cent, Victoria-Swan Lake of 31 per cent, Esquimalt-Metchosin of 28.8 per cent, and Langford-Juan de Fuca has a request rate of almost 25 per cent. Other ridings on Vancouver Island like Parksville-Qualicum have also recorded comparable figures.

When asked about the geographic breakdown, Watson pointed to Vancouver Island as one of the regions where it is more popular than others. But he could not offer a definitive rationale. While age might be factor, Watson said Elections BC does not have a data to confirm one way or another.

“That seems reasonable, but we haven’t done any digging into the data on that side of things,” he said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

BC Votes 2020

Just Posted

Emily Harris (centre) started the in-person Monarch Moms meet-up groups in July, when it was much easier to physical distance in outdoor spaces. Harris started the group as a source of connection for women navigating the ups and downs of having a baby during a pandemic. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Victoria new mom group navigates challenges of motherhood in a pandemic

Monarch Moms meet once a week for physically-distanced connection

Courtenay artist Bill Bolten recently presented Dr. Bonnie Henry with this carving of a yellow warbler. Photo supplied.
Courtenay carver creates gift for Dr. Bonnie Henry

Bill Bolten presented the carving to B.C.’s public health officer in person

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

Maureen Cue, owner of Disguise the Limit costume shop, models – maybe the most obvious – pandemic costume. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Vancouver Island costume expert showcases pandemic-safe Halloween looks

Maureen Cue models the best masked Halloween costumes

Thaddeus Lenover kisses his mushroom picking partner Teagan Evans on the cheek after a rainy day out in the woods harvesting wild mushrooms. (Nora O'Malley photo)
West Coast mushroom pickers say it’s less busy this year

COVID-19 reduces interest in what has otherwise been a good season

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Visitors stroll through Goldstream Provincial Park on a calm, crisp Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Visitors flock to Goldstream Provincial Park for 2020 salmon run

‘I wanted to come here before I move back to Australia,’ says visitor

File Photo
Planned power outage in Port Alice Oct. 27

BC Hydro crews to work from midnight to 4 a.m. replacing substation equipment

Greg Duerksen and his family. (gofundme photo)
Firefighter prepares for stem cell transplant

Friends rally to help raise funds for Duerksen family

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Facebook photo)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Most Read