The deadline for candidates to file papers to run in the 2020 provincial election has now closed. Five candidates have been confirmed in the Fraser-Nicola riding, and all five have been invited to take part in an All Candidates Forum in Ashcroft on Thursday, Oct. 15.
The candidates are Dennis Adamson (Independent); Mike Bhangu (Independent); Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP Party); Jackie Tegart (BC Liberal Party); and Jonah Timms (BC Green Party). All except Tegart are first-time provincial candidates.
Adamson was formerly a member of the BC NDP Fraser-Nicola Riding Association and is an area director with the Fraser Valley Regional District, while Bhangu is currently serving his first term as a City of Merritt councillor. Sumexheltza is a former chief of the Lower Nicola Band and is currently a band councillor, and Timms is a First Nations advisor and former member of the Young BC Greens who lives in Lillooet. They are challenging Tegart, a former Ashcroft councillor and School District No. 74 trustee who has held the riding since 2013.
As of going to press, Sumexheltza, Tegart, and Timms had confirmed that they will be taking part in the All Candidates Forum on Oct. 15. The event will be livestreamed by the HUB Online Network on its Facebook page, with the in-studio candidates replying to a list of prepared questions. While there will not be members of the public present at the live event, questions can be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewers can also submit questions via Facebook during the forum.
Election day is Saturday, Oct. 24, with advance voting opportunities between Oct. 15 and 21. Voters can also request a vote by mail package, an option which is expected to have a record take-up, given many people’s fears about COVID-19.
In the 2017 provincial election, 6,500 mail-in votes were received; as of Oct. 6, more than 560,000 people have requested vote by mail packages. The logistics involved in counting potentially hundreds of thousands of mail-in votes means that learning the final election results could be delayed by several weeks.
Elections BC is still working to confirm voting locations and advance voting dates in each riding, but has announced many of the voting locations (advance and general) in Fraser-Nicola, including the Ashcroft HUB, the Cache Creek Community Hall, Clinton Memorial Hall, and Loon Lake Community Hall. The community hall in Spences Bridge (Clemes Hall) will be open for voting on Oct. 24 only. For a list of dates and times when you can vote at these (and other) locations, go to https://wheretovote.elections.bc.ca/.
Anyone who plans to vote in person — either in advance or on Oct. 24 — should bring valid ID showing their name and home address (not a P.O. Box number) and their “Where To Vote” card from Elections BC (which will be arriving in the mail soon). Voters can also bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballot.
Voters are encouraged to wear a mask in the voting place, and will not be asked to remove their mask in order to vote.