VANCOUVER — 7:01 p.m. PT

Elections BC says nearly half a million mail-in ballots have been returned as people tried to avoid going to the polls to vote in B.C.’s election during the pandemic.

It says 724,279 vote-by-mail packages were requested, with nearly 498,000 returned as of Friday night.

Voters had until the polls close today to return the mail-in ballots.

There are nearly 3.5 million registered voters in British Columbia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press