Voting packages arriving with already sealed envelopes

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wednesday, October 14 2020

Some vote-by-mail packages are arriving to voters’ homes with pre-sealed certification and return envelopes.

This is due to moisture or heat during transit sealing the adhesive on the envelopes, according to Elections BC. 

Mailing packages that arrive like that are still valid though, said Andrew Watson, Elections BC’s communications director.

“It is ok for them to carefully open the package that they’ve received. Then if they’re unable to reseal it using the adhesive on the envelope that they were sent, they can tape that shut. That’s not going to be grounds for rejecting their ballot.”

He suggested using clear tape and to make sure it is secure.

The same issue happened with mail-in packages sent out to voters during the 2018 referendum on proportional representation. Though it’s a repeat problem, there appears to be no information posted about it on the Elections BC website as of the time the Sounder was alerted to the problem. 

“We’ve been I think as transparent as we can be about alerting the public to this issue,” Watson said. “We’ve been responding to calls on our 1-800 number, we’ve been answering questions to this effect on social media regularly. If the specific guidance around a sealed package isn’t on the website, we’d be happy to add that if that would be beneficial for voters.”

If voters who received packages with sealed envelopes prefer not to tape them, or have a damaged package, they can request a new package before Oct. 17, or they can vote in person. Voters who end up voting in person need to destroy mail-in packages – it isn’t required to bring it to an Elections BC post to destroy.

Voters with questions about mail-in packages or other voting related queries can call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 or check the website, www.elections.bc.ca. As of midnight Oct. 8, Elections BC had received 646,000 requests for vote-by-mail packages.