(File photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

(File photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

West Kelowna council mulls over mail-in ballots

‘We’re looking at making it easier for everybody to participate in the upcoming election’

West Kelowna council is looking at allowing registered voters to use mail-in ballots in the municipal election this October.

“We’re looking at making it easier for everybody to participate in the upcoming election,” Chief Administrative Officer Paul Gipps told council at the April 5 regular meeting. “Providing more opportunities to participate in mail ballot voting, more opportunities for advance polls by taking advantage of new legislation.”

The bylaw reads in part:

“A person wishing to vote by mail shall apply by giving their name and address to the Chief Election Officer or to the person designated by the Chief Election Officer for such purposes, during the period commencing 30 days before the first day of advance voting and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the Thursday, two days before general voting day.”

Mayor Gordon Milsom raised concerns about whether that leaves enough time for a mail-in ballot to be returned.

“Probably not,” answered Gipps. “As long as they are sealed, date-stamped, and returned to the city by a certain time, we count them at that time. Depending on how many are taken out we may or may not know the full results on election night.”

Gipps said mail-in ballots can be a challenge, and added the 2021 federal election, and the 2020 provincial election used mail-in ballots where they didn’t actually know the full results until well after election day.

Council would need to adopt the bylaw and it would need to be in place six months before the date of municipal elections (Oct. 15).

Read More: B.C. implements changes to the Elections Act to ‘modernize’ voting process

Read More: Conference comes to Kelowna for those interested in joining city council


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BC municipal electionCity CouncilCity of West Kelownavoting