British Columbia

B.C. government seeks public input on electoral reform referendum

Beginning Nov. 23 and open until Feb. 28, the public is invited to fill out an online questionnaire and make comments on various aspects of the electoral system, including their preferred voting system, ballot design, and the distribution of public funding for designated groups to campaign.

Public can fill out questionnaire on voting system, ballot design, and funds for campaigning

The public is invited to fill out an online questionnaire and make comments on various aspects of the electoral system. (iStock)

Next fall, British Columbians will be presented with a ballot to vote on electoral reform for the upcoming provincial election, but in advance of that date the government wants the public's help in deciding how we vote.

Beginning Nov. 23 and open until Feb. 28, the public is invited to fill out an online questionnaire and make comments on various aspects of the electoral system, including their preferred voting system, ballot design, and the distribution of public funding for designated groups to campaign.

"It's a very important question. It's how we send our elected representatives to Victoria to represent us, and we want people to have a chance to have their say," said Attorney General David Eby.

The main question being asked in this referendum is whether B.C. should keep the current first past the post voting system, or adopt a system of proportional representation. 

The questionnaire provides the option to vote on more than one proportional representation voting system, including list proportional representation, mixed member proportional, single transferable vote, and mixed member majoritarian. 

Eby says once the engagement process closes the results will be tallied and a report from the the Ministry of Attorney General will be posted to the B.C. government website.

Electoral reform referendums were previously held in 2005 and 2009, but no changes were approved by voters. 

In 2005, 57.7 percent of voters favoured adopting a new system, but the threshold for that referendum was 60 percent of votes cast. 

"It's been about a decade since British Columbians answered this question. There are a lot of new voters out there and there's a lot of ongoing interest in exploring whether we should be moving to a different system," Eby said. 

The referendum on electoral reform will be held no later than Nov. 30, 2018 through mail-in ballot, with results binding at a threshold of 50 percent plus one vote province-wide.

The government says if a new voting system is approved, legislation will be introduced in time for the 2021 provincial general election.

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