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Voter registration push begins for B.C. referendum

Watch for a card from Elections BC in your mailbox that is the first step to a mail-in referendum on changing the province’s voting system.

The notification cards are being mailed to every household in B.C. this month to remind them to get their voters list information up to date. The referendum voting packages themselves are to be mailed out between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2, and must be completed and returned by Nov. 30.

Voters don’t have to wait for a card to arrive. Updating information can be done online at elections.bc.ca/ovr or by calling 1-800-661-8683 during weekdays.

“Make sure you are registered and that your information is up to date, especially if you’ve never registered, moved recently or changed your name,” said B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman. “If your voter information is current, you will get a referendum voting package in the mail later this fall.”

Any Canadian citizen aged 18 or older as of Nov. 30, having lived in B.C. for at least six months before that date, is eligible to vote.

Elections BC is the neutral agency administering a referendum that has sparked bitter political disputes. Opponents say the vote is a complicated choice of options being pushed through this fall by the NDP minority government and its B.C. Green Party supporters for their own political benefit.

Backers say the current first-past-the-post system is unfair, often giving majority authority to a party supported by a minority of voters. Premier John Horgan has committed to campaign in favour of a yes vote, and the B.C. Liberals vow to travel the province opposing the change.

B.C. previously held referenda on electoral reform in 2005 and 2009, where changes were defeated under a super-majority that also required approval in all regions of the province. Those votes were preceded by a lengthy citizens’ assembly to choose alternative systems.

This time, NDP Attorney General David Eby developed the options, which include three different proportional representation systems.


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Tom Fletcher

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