Chilliwack, BC: In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council has approved a mail-in ballot process for the 2021 School District No. 33 By-Election, following the Chief Election Officer’s request to the BC Ministry of Education.
On November 19, 2020, the Chief Election Officer submitted a request to the BC Ministry of Education for a Ministerial Order to override the City’s bylaw and the Local Government Act and allow mail-in ballots for all electors in the 2021 School District By-Election. On January 15, 2021, Council was notified that BC’s Minister of Education had approved this request and signed Ministerial Order M028 under the School Act.
To receive a mail-in ballot, residents must apply online at chilliwack.com/elections between January 21 at 8:30 am and January 28 at 4:00 pm. Those with accessibility needs can call 604.793.2986 for assistance.
Packages will be mailed out with instructions on how to complete and return a ballot. Completed ballots can be returned by mail, dropped off at any voting venue on advance voting days and general voting day, or dropped off at City Hall’s drop box, available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Ballots must be received by the end of voting on February 13, 2021, general voting day. It is the voter’s responsibility to ensure ballots are returned on time. Ballots received after 8:00 pm on February 13, 2021 will not be counted. Due to the potential for postal delays, residents are encouraged to drop off their ballots at City Hall or on one of the advance voting days, if possible.
“We are pleased that the provincial government responded to our request to make mail-in voting an option for those who need it,” said Mayor Popove. “In addition to this new option, the City’s voting places have COVID-19 safety plans to ensure the by-election will be safe for voters, candidates, and election staff.”
Heritage Park and the Landing Sports Centre are both larger facilities within the City that offer space for physical distancing. Each facility will have additional protective measures in place, including capacity limits; plexiglass barriers; hand sanitizing stations; mandatory face coverings; and frequent cleaning of voting stations and high-touch surfaces, including the pencils/pens provided for voting.
Three advance voting days are scheduled for February 3, 10, and 11. These times, in addition to General Voting Day, at larger locations, will keep voters safely apart during this by-election. General Voting Day is Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 8 am to 8 pm at Heritage Park and the Landing Sports Centre.
More information about the mail-in ballot process and the by-election will be available at chilliwack.com/elections.