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The write-in ballot: How to fill it in

A sample of a write-in ballot. ELECTIONS B.C.

If you’re planning to vote by mail in the Oct. 24 provincial election, your ballot might look a little different than what you’re used to.

More than 600,000 people have requested mail-in ballots so far, and many of those packages will contain write-in ballots.

That means voters will have to write in the name of the person they want to vote for—or the party they represent—rather than simply marking an X beside a name on a list of candidates.

Elections B.C. began sending out regular ballots after the candidate list was finalized Oct. 2. But almost 500,000 people had already requested mail-in voting packages by then.

As a result, many British Columbians asking for mail-in ballots will receive blank ballots, a process that has been so confusing for many that even NDP leader John Horgan got the rules wrong and had to apologize.

With that in mind, here are some dos and don’ts of filling out your write-in ballot.


To mark your write-in ballot, you must write the name of the party or candidate of your choice clearly in the space provided. Spelling mistakes are not grounds for rejecting a write-in ballot, as long as the intention is clear.

Confirm your preferred candidate or party is running in your riding. You can find your riding on the certification envelope included in the voting package, or by going to


Do not write in the name of the party leader unless he or she is a candidate in your riding. Otherwise, your ballot will be considered spoiled and won’t be counted.

Do not forget to get your ballot in on time. If you want to return the ballot by mail, Elections B.C. recommends putting it in the mail by Oct. 17. Otherwise, you’ll have to drop it off at a polling station or collection centre no later than 8 p.m. on Oct. 24. You can find a list of locations at


You can request a voting package at or by phone at 1-800-661-8683.

If you need help completing your vote-by-mail package, contact Elections B.C. at or 1-800-661-8683.

Voters have until general election day—Oct. 24—to request a mail-in ballot, but the filled-out ballot must be returned to a polling station or collection centre no later than 8 p.m. that Saturday.

The number of British Columbians who have requested mail-in ballots so far in this campaign has reached more than 646,000, compared to just 11,000 in 2017. The jump has been attributed to the pandemic.

Mail-in ballots aren’t counted right away, so it could be several weeks before we know who will form government.