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election 318

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More than 90 per cent of British Columbians are already registered to vote in the May 28 provincial election, but if you’re not registered you only have until Tuesday, May 7 to get on the list. If you miss the May 7 deadline you can still register when you vote, but there may be lineups. Two pieces of identification will be required to register on voting day. A toll-free line has been established for voters to update their registration: 1-800-661-8683. Anyone can register to vote if they are 18 years or older, a Canadian citizen and have resided in B.C. for the past six months. A number of changes to the Election Act, passed last year, make it easier for people to vote in B.C. elections. The hours for advance voting have been expanded — from Wednesday, May 22 to Saturday, May 25, between noon and 9 p.m. — and absentee voting can be done by mail up until the May 28 election. While the changes to voting procedures are relatively minor, the restrictions on advertising and reporting during the election period have changed substantially. Third parties — organizations or individuals other than candidates, registered political parties and registered constituency associations — who wish to place election advertising during a campaign must register with the chief electoral officer. As well, third parties are not allowed to spend more than $5,000 on advertising during a campaign period. If third parties spend $500 or more on advertising during an election campaign they must file an election advertising report with the chief electoral officer, including the names of individuals or organizations who contributed more than $250. Also under the new Elections Act, media outlets that first publish the results of election opinion polls must also publish specific information regarding the poll, such as the name of the poll sponsor, who conducted the poll, the margin of error and the exact wording of each question for which data are reported. As well, if an election opinion poll is to be published without the of the poll sponsor the publisher of the poll must let the sponsor know at least 24 hours in advance of publishing.

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