Voting in the Municipal Election: A Guide for Students

British Columbians will go to the polls on October 15 to elect Mayors, city councils, and school board trustees in over 160 municipalities across the province. There are over 3000 candidates and more offices to fill than in any other voting opportunity available to BC voters. More than just the future of municipal governance is up for grabs. Reconciliation with Indigenous communities, solutions for the housing and homelessness crisis, the opioid epidemic, and important transportation and economic challenges all begin at the municipal level.

UBC Political Science has assembled the following as a guide for our students who we encourage to exercise their civic duty by voting in the election this week if they are eligible. We will also be hosting an election recap with faculty and alumni panelists on Tuesday, October 18.

Vancouver Residents

If you live in the City of Vancouver, you will vote for:

  1. The Mayor
  2. 10 City Councillors
  3. Seven Park Board Commissioners
  4. Nine School Board Trustees
  5. Three Capital Plan Questions

Vancouver does not have a ward system. When voting, you may vote for one mayoral candidate, up to 10 council candidates, seven Park Board candidates and nine School Board candidates. They may also vote on all three Capital Plan questions.

UBC and University Endowment Lands Residents

Students living in residence at UBC or on the University Endowment Lands do not vote for the Mayor, Council or Park Board in Vancouver. If you live in these areas, you vote for an electoral director to represent you on the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board. You also vote for school trustees in the Vancouver election.

Students are eligible to vote in municipal elections if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • are 18 years of age or older on October 15
  • are a Canadian citizen
  • are a resident of British Columbia for at least six months before they register to vote
  • are not disqualified by law from voting

Permanent residents who are not yet Canadian citizens are unable to vote. Many students live in a different municipality during the school year. These students may only vote once, in either municipality.

Municipalities in BC will vote for their city councils on October 15. Polling stations will be open from 8 am to 8 pm. The advanced voting window is now closed.

On campus, there will be a voting station in the AMS Nest and University Hill Secondary School. You can also find a map of polling stations across Vancouver here.

You do not need to be registered in advance to vote. As long as you bring the ID described below, you will be permitted to vote.

In order to vote, you need to bring either two pieces of identification or one piece of identification and make a solemn declaration. The identification must:

  • show your name
  • at least one piece must show your address
  • at least one piece must include your signature

Acceptable pieces of identification include:

  • Band membership card or Certificate of Indian Status
  • BC CareCard
  • BC Driver’s Licence
  • BC Identification Card (BCID)
  • BC Services Card
  • Canadian Citizenship Card
  • Canadian Passport
  • Debit or credit card
  • Government cheque or cheque stub
  • Old Age Security Identification Card
  • Prescription medication containers
  • Property tax assessment/notice
  • Social Insurance Number Card
  • Student card
  • Utility bill