It is fair to say an election during a pandemic is an out-of-the ordinary occurence for all B.C. voters going to the polls this weekend.
Only the very oldest Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows residents would have been alive when John Oliver was voted in to lead British Columbia during the last global pandemic.
Elderly voters have a few more options for ways to vote in this year’s provincial election than they did in 1918.
Heather Treleaven, with the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network said their members have been sharing information on advance voting, polling stations, and mail-in voting.
“We’re doing our best to continue to push that information out.”
She added many of the local long term care facilities are equipped with polling stations, which makes it much easier on the residents who live in them.
“Residents of Chartwell Willow, Sunwood, Maple Ridge Senior’s Village, Baillie House, and Westbrook will be able to vote right in the residence or the hospital,” she said.
Two staff members from each residence and the hospital performed online and in-person training, which will enable voting at all the facilities on polling day (Oct. 24).
In previous years, Treleaven said, the parties running in the election would pick up prospective senior voters and drive or bus them to polling stations, but she does not believe that will take place for this election.
“I know one of the Liberal candidates called to say they’re not able to drive because of safety precautions,” she said.
Rides to the polls are in short supply, she continued.
“Because of the need to social distance, they are difficult to facilitate,” Treleaven said.
“Our existing programs through the senior’s centre and community services are very busy filling requests for appointments, and rides to the grocery stores.”
Maria Perretta, who is the executive director of the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, said they do have a volunteers driving service available to members, but there will not be any more volunteers than usual, and she has not heard of any requests for rides to polling stations.