Senior White Rock election worker not concerned about safety at the polls

‘Casting your vote will be like getting a take out coffee,’ says Elections BC CEO

Since Premier John Horgan called a snap provincial election to be held Oct. 24, questions have been raised about the safety of voting in person during a global pandemic.

But everyone from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, to Election BC CEO Anton Boegman, to an experienced White Rock voting station worker agree that it can, and will, be done safely.

In a press conference Tuesday morning (Sept. 22), the day after Horgan called the snap election, Boegman said his agency has been working with Henry’s office for the past number of months in preparation for a possible election.

Boegman noted that more than 50 elections have taken place this year worldwide, and Elections BC has taken a number of steps to not only increase safety, but increase the number of voting opportunities.

He said people who decide to vote in person can expect physical distancing measures, hand sanitizing stations, capacity limits, protective barriers for election officials, and officials wearing personal protective equipment.

RELATED: Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

The process will be streamlined, he added, to reduce the amount of time a person needs to wait to cast their ballot.

“Casting your vote will be like getting a take out coffee, or picking up milk and eggs from the grocery store in terms of safety protocols and time spent,” Boegman said.

White Rock resident Pat Petrala has worked nearly every provincial and federal election in the past 20 years.

She said she has confidence in both Henry and Elections BC to facilitate a safe voting experience.

“And much like at the grocery store, the pharmacy, we’re behind plastic shields and we have our mask on and we wear gloves to handle documents,” Petrala said. “It makes logical sense, witnessing what happened in the Maritimes for their vote. We saw how they worked. It doesn’t threaten me at all. I don’t feel insecure and I’m 70 years old.”

Voting by mail is expected to take a major jump compared to previous elections.

Boegman said more than 20,000 people requested to vote by mail just one day after the writ was dropped. As of Sept. 28 that number had reached 400,000 (see related story below).

RELATED: Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

According to Elections BC, the agency can process up to 200,000 mail-in ballots in time for the final count, which is legislated to begin no less than 13 days after Election Day.

However, this year Elections BC believes that up to 35 per cent of voters, or around 800,000 people, could opt to mail in their ballot.

– files from Katya Slepian

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Teachers, staff should be included in contact tracing: Surrey Teachers’ Association president

STA says there is also ‘no harm in going even further’ with a mask mandate

Signage outside of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in South Surrey advises of the drive-thru schedule. (Contributed photo)
Cold-weather clothing donations sought at South Surrey drive-thru effort

Weekly collection continues in Mount Olive Lutheran Church parking lot

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Most Read