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B.C. election carried out with no COVID-19 exposure events, Elections BC says

CEO says pulling off pandemic election was a significant challenge
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B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan votes at Luxton Hall during advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The second pandemic election in Canada passed without any COVID-19 exposure events, according to Elections BC.

Agency CEO Anton Boegman spoke to the federal House of Commons procedure and house affairs committee on Tuesday (Nov. 3) to discuss how the Oct. 24 election was carried out.

Boegman said that Elections BC had to “reengineer” how voting was carried out in order to reduce the number of people in close proximity to each other while at voting places.

“We placed acrylic barriers on voting tables, provided election officials with PPE,” Boegman said, in addition to more cleaning and sanitization stations. Voters were also able to use their own pen to fill out their ballot.

“During the campaign period, we passed a number of WorkSafeBC safety audits and there were no COVID-19 exposure events at voting places, offices or at our headquarters in Victoria,” Boegman said.

The turnout for October’s provincial election was lower than usual at 52.4 per cent, although mail-in and advanced voting was higher than usual. Vote-by-mail surged due to the pandemic, with Elections BC receiving 525,000 mail-in ballots – a 7,200 per cent increased since 2017.

The BC NDP were declared the winners shortly after polls closed on Election Day, and are projected to win a majority even after the final count which is schedule to begin on Nov. 6.

READ MORE: Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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