Election 101

Reporter dispels myths around voting in hopes of attracting more people to the polls on election day

We may head to the municipal polls every three years, but parts of the process remain a mystery.

To get prepared for Nov. 19, I touched base with one of the procedural experts, Keri-Ann Austin, Coldstream’s corporate officer.

The following information pertains to all jurisdictions and not just Coldstream.

Half-Sack Not Required

A common misconception is that because there are six councillors in a municipality (four in Lumby), you need to mark an X next to six names on the ballot.

But the reality is you can vote for up to six people for councillor. If you only like one, only select one.

“Vote for the ones you are comfortable with,” said Austin.

“Just make sure you don’t vote for seven because that will spoil the ballot. Look at your ballot closely.”

Identify Yourself

There hasn’t been an official voters’ list in most B.C. communities for years so poll clerks will need to verify who you are (even if you live next door to them or are a relative).

To help move things along, bring some identification.

“My two favourites are a driver’s license and a CareCard,” said Austin.

“Picture ID is not required but it’s great because you can see who they are.”

Most voters will have also driven to the polls, so automobile insurance papers will work in a pinch.

No Corporate Vote

Many people believe that owning a business gives them an extra ballot,  but there hasn’t been a corporate vote in B.C. since 1993.

“That was a provincial government decision,” said Austin.

Now if you own residential property in one jurisdiction (as an example, Armstrong), but live in another community (as an example, Spallumcheen), you can be classified as a non-resident voter in the house’s host jurisdiction.

“We need paperwork, like a current year’s tax notice. We need to prove they own the property,” said Austin.

There is only one non-resident vote allowed per property, so if a husband and wife or several investors own a home, they must decide who will vote. All of the people on title must give that person authority to represent them.

The Great Divide

A mailing address is not an indication of residing in a specific community.

BX residents may have Vernon as an address but they are in the regional district and can’t vote for city council. Rural Lumby residents may feel part of a broader community but they aren’t electors in the village.

Boundaries are invisible so know where you live (most polling stations have maps to help).

Patience is a Virtue

It may take a few minutes to vote so bring something to read or plug in the MP3.

“Registering voters can take time and you will be dealing with staff who only do this every three years,” said Austin.

“They are doing the best they can.”

It should also be pointed out that the clerks and municipalities aren’t responsible for the electoral process.

“These people are doing specific jobs based on specific provincial legislation. The reason for strictness is we don’t want anyone to challenge the election,” said Austin.

Trustees Count Too

Regional district directors have been acclaimed in the BX, rural Lumby and Cherryville, so residents may assume there is no election going on.

But individuals are running for school district trustee in all of those jurisdictions, so the polls will be open.

Catch the Wave

Yes it’s a cliche but people are dying  in Syria or being imprisoned in China because they want freedom. Don’t just sit on the sidelines and let your role in the community go to waste. Get out and vote.

 

Richard Rolke is a senior reporter at The Morning Star. He writes a weekly column for the newspaper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Autism Awareness Day highlights challenges amid COVID-19

AutismBC regional coordinator in Kelowna discusses living with autism amid a pandemic

UPDATE: Good Samaritan delivers stolen sentimental mail

Some items stolen from boxes in the BX area were returned to the rightful owner

WATCH: Armstrong retirement community adapts amid COVID-19

Heaton Place rethinks programming to ensure residents stay safe, healthy and entertained

BREAKING: Inmate at Okanagan Correctional Centre tests positive for COVID-19

This is B.C.’s first community outbreak at a corrections facility

Answer your phone, Vernon school district says

No caller ID or unknown callers could be your child’s teacher reaching out

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

‘We’re working to help every Canadian’: Minister of Middle Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier explains she is working with all levels of government amid COVID-19

Two planes come into close contact above Kelowna

The incident occurred between a WestJet flight and a private plane back in 2019

Most Read