B.C. HST ballot deadline passes

The decision to keep or nix B.C.'s controversial harmonized sales tax leaves the public's hands after 4:30 p.m. PT Friday afternoon.
The deadline to submit B.C. HST ballots has passed, but Fight HST wants an inquiry into the voting process, the CBC's Stephen Smart reports 2:13

If you haven't mailed in or handed in your B.C. HST referendum ballot yet, it's too late now. The deadline was 4:30 p.m. PT Friday.

It's now up to Elections BC to begin verifying ballots and tallying up the results.

Voters who didn't get their ballots into the mail were asked to drop them off by the deadline at any of Elections BC's five collection centres in the Lower Mainland, and at 60 B.C. government service centres around the province.

Elections BC spokesman Don Main said more than three million ballots were mailed out and thousands more people later registered or requested replacements.

But he said the number of votes actually cast won't be revealed until next week, and whether B.C. sticks with — or tosses out — the year-old tax won't be known until Aug. 25 at the earliest.

Walter Butula is one of many British Columbians who waited until the last minute to cast his ballot, dropping it off at an Elections BC drop-off site in South Surrey on Thursday afternoon.

Butula had planned on voting to keep the tax, but changed his mind in the final hour.

"I took my car into get fixed up [Wednesday], at $300 [with] $32 bloody HST. I voted yes cancel [the tax]."

Fleetwood resident Carline White also waited to drop off her ballot.

"[I] just procrastinated. Not that I hadn't made my decision," said White, who voted to keep the HST.

"We are in debt. Nothing else pays the taxes."

Sandeep Powar wouldn't say how he voted, but reminded B.C. residents to get their ballots in on time.

"We should exercise our right to vote. I think everybody should do it."