Leadership contest FAQs

Leadership contest FAQs


A leadership contest is an election to choose the leader of a political party.

It is designed and administered by the political party itself, but must be compliant with certain rules determined by BC’s Election Act, such as the annual donation limit for individuals.

The party decides rules such as the date and length of the contest, how votes will be cast and what voting system will be used. The party also determines who is eligible to run as a candidate for leadership.

Here are some quick facts about the BC Green Party’s 2020 leadership contest:

  • Expanded voter base to include those aged 16 and up who wish to support a candidate but do not wish to become a party member. Full membership in the party is already free for youth aged 25 and younger.
  • The spending limit for each candidate is $300,000, excluding fees paid to the party.
  • Three debates will take place after April 30. A debate will be held in each of the following regions: (1) Vancouver Island, (2) Lower Mainland, (3) Interior/North.
  • Voting will take place from June 15-26 primarily online, with a secure telephone option for those without access to the internet. The party will use ranked ballots for a contest of three or more candidates, or first-past-the-post for a contest of two.

Equity and diversity are important to us. 

Many groups in our society have been (and often continue to be) disadvantaged or disenfranchised in the democratic process. Research has shown that many people who identify with these groups need more time to consider a run in politics, because there are more barriers or challenges that they face. We want this leadership contest to be as accessible and supportive as possible to people who want to add their voices, so we have deliberately established a long application period for prospects to explore a potential campaign.

All leadership candidate applications have to be received by the leadership contest committee (the administrative body of the leadership contest) at the latest by April 15, 2020. This means that all applications, including applications submitted near the end of the application period, should be reviewed (and approved or declined) by April 30, 2020.

If at that time only one person has been approved as a candidate, the leadership committee will declare them the winner by acclamation and the leadership contest will come to a close. 

Debates and other scheduled events will not take place, though one of them may be adapted for another purpose. The party’s annual convention in Nanaimo from June 26-28 will go ahead without the leadership contest components.

Anyone seeking to run as a candidate can announce their intention at any time. This is an individual choice made by the leadership prospect and their campaign - the party does not determine dates for individual campaign announcements.

However, applications from all individuals planning to run in the contest must be received by the leadership contest committee (the administrative body of the leadership contest) by April 15, 2020. 

After receiving an application, the committee reviews the applicant’s eligibility to run as a candidate and will approve or decline the application. The party will then list the new official candidate on its website and on a media release.

With the deadline to submit applications on April 15, we expect all last-minute submissions will have been approved or declined by April 30, 2020. At that time, the party will publish an official, full list of candidates seeking the leadership of the party.

Voter registration

Not everyone whose values align with the BC Green Party wants to become a member. But that doesn't mean they don't have an investment in the election of the new leader; the new leader is the person who will represent those values in the next general election.

So we have expanded the body of those people who can participate in selecting that representative.

When a non-member registers to vote, they have to agree to the party's rules and policies as a way of demonstrating that they are aligned with our values.

The integrity of the voting process is critical to the leader's mandate. One of the ways that the integrity could be compromised is if malicious actors register fake voters to "stuff the ballot box".

To avoid this, we need to be sure you are real and that we can contact you if necessary.

You are not obligated to receive communications from the party or be involved in any aspect of the party except voting in the leadership contest.

The integrity of the voting process is critical to the leader's mandate. One of the ways that the integrity could be compromised is if malicious actors register fake voters to "stuff the ballot box".

Allowing multiple people to sign up with the same email address makes it possible for malicious actors to sign up fake voters to vote multiple times. So emails need to serve as a "unique identifier" for every individual voter.

Voters who do not have an email address can register to vote by calling our office (1888-473-3686). When voting opens, they will be sent instructions for how to vote by telephone.

Voter registration as a supporter is strictly for the party's 2020 leadership contest. Once it’s over, your registration as a voter is null and void.

If you have chosen to receive other communications from the party (such as email updates or text messages) separate from the leadership contest, you will continue to receive those messages. You can unsubscribe from them at any time.

By default, the party will continue to retain your personal information after the 2020 leadership contest, but you can request that we destroy it instead by completing this form.

To understand more about personal information the party has collected from you or to understand your privacy rights, please visit our Personal Information Check-up.


There will be three debates held between April 30 and June 15, 2020.

The debates will take place on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and in the Interior/North. Specific dates and locations will be announced in the next two months.

All debates will be broadcast live online so that voters can watch wherever they are in the province.

No, if there is only one candidate by the time applications are due, the candidate will be acclaimed and will immediately become the new leader of the party.

However, the leadership committee may explore options for adapting one or more of the planned debates into an event for the public to get to know the new leader, such as a town hall or forum.


Anyone who supports the core values of the BC Green Party can vote.

There are two ways to vote:

  1. As a member of the BC Green Party. Your membership must be active and in good standing (all dues paid) by May 30 and through to June 15 (the first day of voting).
  2. As a registered supporter. You can register to vote by becoming a "supporter" for this leadership contest. By registering to vote as a supporter, you are not making any commitment to the BC Green Party - just simply taking part in the leadership contest.

Many people nowadays want to be engaged in political processes (such as a leadership contest), but choose not to become a member of a political party. For example, many people see membership in a political party as an outdated form of political engagement. Others cannot be members of a political party because their jobs require them to remain publicly non-partisan.

Still others may be open to joining a political party as a member, but first want to see how the political process works and if there is a fit with our party and new leader. Enfranchising British Columbians who want to support a leadership candidate that aligns with their values is a way for them to "get their feet wet" in our democratic processes.

We are an open, inclusive party founded on a core principle of participatory democracy. We believe we should be taking down barriers to political engagement, and allowing non-members to vote is one way we can do that.

Registering non-members to voter is also a way for the party to grow its support base and interest new folks in our work.

There are many safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of the voting process:

    1. Voter registration requires the individual to disclose their home address, phone number, and unique email address. This allows us to verify that they are who they say they are through computer analysis and by contacting them directly.
    2. Individuals must also confirm that they own the email address they have provided by clicking on a link sent to their inbox after registration. No one else will be able to use that email address to register. This helps to prevent one individual from creating multiple registrations.
    3. Staff at the BC Green Party head office are also monitoring voter registrations constantly. They will investigate and follow up on suspicious activity immediately.
    4. The Leadership Committee can expel registered voters if they are found to be fraudulent or acting in malicious ways.
    5. The Leadership Committee also expects most voter registrations to be facilitated by leadership campaigns in person (such as at events). In-person voter registration is very difficult to manipulate. All online voter registrations must happen directly through the BC Green Party's website where we take the precautions identified above.

First, make sure you are registered to vote by May 30, 2020. That means that you are either registered as a “supporter” or you are a party member in good standing (your dues are all paid up).

The vast majority of voters will vote online using a system called SimplyVoting. This is a secure Canadian system used by political parties, unions and local governments across the country.

Voting will take place from June 15 to 26.

Registered voters who have an email address will be emailed their voting credentials on June 15. With those credentials, you will log into SimplyVoting and mark your preferences.

Those who do not have an email address will be mailed their telephone credentials by post on June 15. Telephone voters will call the number provided, enter their credentials and enter their preferences.

Once you have submitted your ballot online or by phone, you cannot return to change it.

The results will be announced at the party convention in Nanaimo on the morning of June 27. Announcements to email subscribers and media will follow immediately.

Each voter has a single vote that counts equally toward the final result (There is no “weighing” votes by riding).

In a contest of more than two candidates, the party will use a single ranked ballot (“instant runoff voting”).

Ranked choice voting (RCV) describes voting systems that allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, and then uses those rankings to elect candidates who best represent their constituents.

RCV is straightforward for voters: rank candidates in order of choice. Voters can rank as many candidates as they want, without fear that ranking others will hurt the chances of their favorite candidate...

If a candidate receives more than half of the first choice votes, they win, just like in any other election. However, if there is no majority winner after counting first choice votes, the race enters the runoff phase. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as ‘number 1’ will have their votes count for their next choice. This process continues until a candidate wins with more than half of the votes.

From FairVote.org

In a contest of two candidates, the party will use a simple one-choice ballot (“first-past-the-post”) as ranked balloting is redundant.

Telephone voting is available for those without an email address.

Telephone voters will be mailed their voting credentials by post on June 15. They will call the number provided, enter their credentials and mark their preferences.

As long as you are registered to vote (you are either a member or supporter), you can vote, no matter where in the province you live or whether you have an active riding/regional association or not.


This is a great question.

We encourage you to reach out to the candidates to ask them questions like this. This question will also likely come up in one of the debates.

In short, nothing. The agreement (called a confidence and supply agreement, or "CASA" for short) will remain in place.

If new leader is a current BC Green MLA, then they have already signed CASA and agreed to keep it in place until the next scheduled election in October 2021.

A BC Green Party leader (whether they have a seat in the legislature or not) cannot force members of caucus who have already signed CASA to break the agreement.

Other than the locations where the leadership debates and convention will be held, the candidates are not required to visit or tour the province. However, many leadership campaigns make touring a priority; but the decision is entirely up to the individual campaigns.

Individuals can contact the campaigns directly (contact information should be published on their websites) and encourage them to visit your region.

BC Green riding/regional associations (RA) can also host leadership events (such as coffee parties, forums, panels, debates) and formally invite candidates to attend these events. Note that an RA must remain impartial during the leadership contest - any invite or event extended to one leadership candidate must be extended to all leadership candidates.

Thanks for your interest in getting involved! Leadership candidates will be grateful for your support.

Candidates will likely have their own campaign websites where you can sign up quickly to volunteer.

As candidates register with the party, we will also post their contact information on our website.

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