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Voter registration blitz hits the Tri-Cities

Before B.C. voters go to the polls on May 14, Elections BC asks: Are you on the voters
Before B.C. voters go to the polls on May 14, Elections BC asks: Are you on the voters' list?
— image credit: file

With the May 14 provincial election soon to be upon us, a voter registration blitz began last week in the Tri-Cities.

Elections BC sent out 1.9 million notices to people across the province in an effort to update the voters' list. Officials will also be on hand at Tri-Cities' shopping malls, community centres and school campuses starting today (March 6) to deliver voter registration information.

Next month, the campaign will ramp up when election officials go into homeless shelters and long-term care facilities to register eligible voters.

But Hope for Freedom Society (HFFS) managing director Rob Thiessen said he's not aware of any upcoming visits from Elections BC officers to the group's homeless shelter in Port Coquitlam.

"I would be surprised if they knew the shelter existed," Thiessen told the Tri-City News last week.

HFFS staff have taken it upon themselves to register their clients — a process Thiessen said is challenging as many of them don't have proper identification. Residents of the shelter are even offered a ride to the polling station.

"We want to make sure they cast their ballot," added Thiessen. "I believe a citizen should vote."

Elections BC says voter outreach activities, know as an enumeration, allow the election process to run more efficiently. Allan Olson, Port Coquitlam district elections officer, said this targeted approach replaces the traditional mass mail-out seen in previous elections.

"We have targeted some of the areas that have been identified by some of the political groups," said Olson. "We will be going to new highrise areas in Port Coquitlam."

Rental properties on the north and south sides of the city will also be reached by election officials.

A computer will be set up at the Port Coquitlam rec complex, Costco, Coquitlam Centre, Douglas College and Thrifty Foods in Port Moody, to name a few locations, where residents can check their voter status during March.

B.C. residents can also update their registration status online at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by calling Elections BC toll-free at 1-800-661-8683.

newsroom@tricitynews.com

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