British Columbia

Updated voting technologies coming to B.C., likely in time for next provincial election

A new, modernized voting system will likely be in place when British Columbians cast their ballots in the next provincial general election.

Voters will be able to cast their ballots anywhere in the province

B.C. is hoping changes to the voting process aimed at making it faster, more accessible and efficient will be in place for the next provincial general election in October 2021. (CBC)

A new, modernized voting system will likely be in place when British Columbians cast their ballots in the next provincial general election.

Elections BC received a letter July 3 from Attorney General David Eby, indicating the province's intention to introduce the legislative changes aimed at increasing accessibility and efficiency come election day.

"Should voting modernization be adopted, it will improve the voting experience for British Columbians, make voting faster, improve accessibility, speed up results, and provide candidates with current participation information to assist them in their efforts to get out the vote," said Anton Boegman, B.C.'s chief electoral officer, in a news release Thursday.

The proposed changes would assist Elections BC in:

  • Continuing to allow people to vote at any polling place in the province.
  • Counting virtually all votes, including absentee ballots, on election night.
  • Capturing participation in real-time, electronically, with votes uploaded to central servers that can be instantly shared with candidates. 

The new technologies would also increase accessibility for voters with disabilities by way of updated assistive voting devices.

The goal is for the new systems to be in place for B.C.'s next scheduled general election on Oct. 16, 2021.

The estimated cost to develop and implement the proposed voting model in B.C. is $11 million.

If the Legislative Assembly adopts the amendments, it would be the most significant update to voting procedures in at least 20 years, according to Boegman.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story inaccurately described how Elections BC's technology upgrades would impact voters. The story has been updated.
    Jul 17, 2019 1:57 PM PT

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