B.C.’s chief electoral officer Anton Boegman and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will reveal their plans for conducting a provincial election on Tuesday (Sept. 22), with COVID-19 procedures they began developing in March.
Henry said when the coronavirus pandemic arrived in B.C. and precautions began to be developed, there were pending by-elections in Victoria and other municipalities that have since been rescheduled.
“We have been working with Elections B.C. since March when municipal elections had been planned for later that month. Andwe have been working with them continuously since that time, recognizing that there was potential for elections as this pandemic progressed, both municipal, provincial and federal,” Henry said Sept. 21.
“The guidelines that we’ve come up with include how political parties and their candidates need to keep themselves, their staff and volunteers and their communities safe during their campaign.”
Henry said staff at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control will continue to provide COVID-19 case and outbreak briefings on weekdays through the election period, with her in person Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Announcing the unscheduled election earlier in the day, Premier John Horgan said it will include an extended advance voting period to reduce congestion at polling places on voting day, Oct. 24.
Henry said her authority to make and enforce public health rules is independent, and not affected by the election call.
“I can say that Premier Horgan did not ask for my advice before calling an election, and nor would I expect him to,” Henry said. “That is part of the political process that I am not involved in.”