The vote is underway

  • May. 6, 2009 10:00 a.m.

The provincial election is now underway, with advance polls open from May 6 until May 9 and general voting day this coming Tuesday, May 12. Islanders have plenty of opportunities to vote. Advance polls are open at the Howard Phillips Community Hall in Masset and at the Queen Charlotte visitor information centre from 8 am until 8 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On May 12, there will be seven polls open on the islands, at the Old Massett village council office, the community hall in Masset, the Port Clements multi-purpose building, the Tlell fire hall, the Skidegate community hall, the Queen Charlotte visitor info centre, and the Sandspit community office. All are open from 8 am until 8 pm. District electoral officer Brian Roberts said islanders can vote at whatever location is convenient for them. Unlike a federal election, voters do not have to cast their ballot at a particular polling station, he said. For example, if you live in Masset and will be in Skidegate on voting day, you are welcome to go to the Skidegate community hall to vote. In fact, BC residents can vote anywhere in the province. Voters will need to bring ID with them, Mr. Roberts said, although voters with no identification can be vouched for by a family member or neighbour who does have the required ID. Acceptable ID includes a BC drivers’ licence, a BC identification card or a certificate of Indian Status, or any two documents that prove your identity and current address. In the North Coast riding, voters have three candidates to choose from: Gary Coon of the NDP, Lisa Girbav of the Green Party and Herb Pond of the Liberals. In addition to the regular ballot, voters will also receive a second ballot to vote in the referendum on electoral reform. Mr. Roberts said that all voters will be handed both ballots and will be required to return both (although they don’t have to mark them). BC held a referendum on electoral reform during the 2005 provincial election, but that time around voters were asked if they wanted a referendum ballot, he said. The people working at the polls are not allowed to answer any questions about the referendum or explain anything about it, Mr. Roberts said, so voters should make sure they are informed before they get there. The last provincial election was held in May 2005. At that time, 10,431 votes were cast on the North Coast, including 1,639 votes on the islands. Gary Coons was elected MLA with 5,621 votes, while Liberal Bill Belsey received 4,014, Hondo Arendt of the Green Party received 597 and David Johns of the Marijuana Party received 199.