Only 1.4% of British Columbians have returned their electoral reform referendum ballots so far
But Elections B.C. says it's early days yet
As of Wednesday, only 47,000 British Columbians or 1.4 per cent of eligible voters, had returned their completed ballots to Elections B.C. in the provincewide mail-in referendum on electoral reform.
Rebecca Penz, the director of communications with Elections B.C., says the low turnout is partly because it's still early in the voting period.
"It is very early days ... Many people only received their voting packages late last week," Penz said. "We did see an overnight increase [Tuesday] in returned ballots of over 11,000."
Penz noted, however, B.C.'s Referendum Act does not have a minimum threshold of participation for binding results.
If you haven't received an electoral reform referendum package in the mail yet, Penz says you still have until Nov. 23 at midnight to request a voting package either online, on the phone or in person at a Service B.C. centre.
The deadline to return a completed voting package to Elections B.C. is Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Penz says she encourages people to return their voting package earlier rather than later so that if there are any issues with the ballot, Elections B.C. officials can contact you and get it corrected.
And if time is ticking, head down in person.
"If people are cutting it close, they might want to return it in person to a Service B.C. centre or a Referendum Service office," she said.
The provincial referendum asks two questions:
1. What electoral system should be used to determine election results: the existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) system or a proportional representation (PR) system?
2. What type of proportional voting system should be used if PR is chosen by ranking the following choices:
- Dual-member proportional representation.
- Mixed-member proportional representation.
- Rural–urban proportional representation.
CBC News is taking an in depth look of B.C.'s electoral reform referendum this week
Penz says Elections B.C. will accept "whatever you feel comfortable completing."
"They can answer just one question. In the second question, they don't have to rank all the systems," Penz said. "You can support first-past-the-post and still rank the three proportional systems.
"We just encourage voters to get informed on all sides of the debate ... Take the time, read the instructions and you should be fine."
CBC Vancouver will have special coverage of the debate between B.C. Premier John Horgan and Opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson on Thursday, Nov. 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. PT on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC British Columbia's website, CBC Vancouver's Facebook page, and @CBCNewsBC Periscope.
With files from BC Today