Victoria Election 2018: Who Can Vote?

By Robert Hawkes

The municipal election takes place on Saturday Oct 20, 2018. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voting locations in James Bay are James Bay Community School, 140 Oswego Street and James Bay New Horizons Centre, 234 Menzies Street.

As well as voting for a Mayor, eight Councillors (including three to also serve on the Capital Regional District Board) and nine School District Trustees, a nonbinding opinion vote will be held with the following question:

“Are you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizen's Assembly to explore the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?”

The City of Victoria is using the British Columbia voters list from the last provincial election for the 2018 municipal election. If you are registered, you should have received a voter card in late September. While it is helpful to take this card with you to the polls, it does not count as your piece of required voter identification.

If your name is not on the voter list, you can still vote by presenting yourself at a polling place on election day. You will need to declare that you live in the area, and support that with two pieces of identification, one of which shows your address and one that has your signature. Those who are already registered need only a single piece of identification, provided it is one of the preferred types (a photo BC Services Card, BC Identification Card, BC Driver's Licence, or Certificate of Indian Status). Details on identification options are given at the link below.

You are eligible to vote if you are a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old, a resident of British Columbia for at least six months, have lived in this area for at least 30 days, and are not disqualified from voting. Therefore, if you moved here from another province a few months ago you are not eligible, but if you moved here at least a month before the election from another place in British Columbia you are eligible to vote here. People are disqualified from voting if they have been found guilty of an indictable offence and are in custody, or if they have been found guilty of an election offence.

The following statement applies to student voters. "Students who live in one jurisdiction and attend an educational institution in a jurisdiction different from their usual place of residence may vote only once-either in the jurisdiction where they attend school or in the jurisdiction that is their usual place of residence."

British Columbia also allows non-resident property owners to vote in municipal elections. For example, a person who lived elsewhere in British Columbia, but owned property in Victoria, could vote here. "When a person lives in one jurisdiction and owns property in one or more other jurisdictions, they may vote once in each of the other jurisdictions where they own property - as long as they meet the voter eligibility requirements." In the case of jointly owned properties only a single voter can be designated, and corporate owned properties are not allowed to designate a voter. Non-resident property owners who are not residents of British Columbia or who are not Canadian citizens, are not eligible to vote.

If you have other questions about how to vote, visit the website https://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/city/municipal-election/information-for-voters.html, telephone 250.361.0571, or email elections@victoria.ca. The following provincial site provides additional information on voter eligibility: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/governance-powers/general-local-elections/voter-eligibility-voting

In the previous municipal election (2014), 39.1% of the 63,084 registered voters in Victoria cast a vote. Each vote is important, so do exercise your right. In the last election, 89 votes separated the top two candidates for mayor, while 33 votes separated the highest unsuccessful candidate for school trustees from those elected.

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