Lat­est poll shows B.C. res­i­dents split on elec­toral re­form vote

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - JEN­NIFER SALT­MAN jen­salt­man@post­media.com twit­ter.com/jen­salt­man

A new poll shows that B.C. res­i­dents in the midst of a ref­er­en­dum on elec­toral re­form are di­vided on what vot­ing sys­tem should be used to de­ter­mine pro­vin­cial elec­tion re­sults.

The re­sults of the on­line sur­vey, con­ducted by In­sights West on be­half of the Canada Com­mit­tee 100 So­ci­ety — a Chi­nese com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion — were re­leased on Fri­day.

In­sights West asked 814 Bri­tish Columbians whether they want to keep the cur­rent first-past­the-post vot­ing sys­tem or change to pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Forty-two per cent want the prov­ince to adopt a new vot­ing sys­tem, while 41 per cent would like to keep the sta­tus quo. The rest, 17 per cent, were un­sure.

With three weeks to go in the ref­er­en­dum — Elec­tions B.C. must re­ceive bal­lots by Nov. 30 — 86,907 bal­lot pack­ages have been re­ceived from 2.6 per cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers. Sur­vey re­spon­dents who were asked specif­i­cally about their vot­ing in­ten­tions, 32 per cent said they had re­ceived their bal­lots and al­ready voted, 60 per cent said they in­tended to vote, and six per cent did not plan to vote.

The ma­jor­ity of those who had voted said they favoured the first­past-the-post sys­tem (58 per cent) and 39 per cent said they wanted pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The mail-in ref­er­en­dum asks vot­ers whether they want to keep the cur­rent first-past-the-post elec­toral sys­tem, or change to one of three op­tions of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion: dual-mem­ber pro­por­tional, mixed-mem­ber pro­por­tional, or ru­ral-ur­ban pro­por­tional.

Re­spon­dents said that if B.C. were to adopt a pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion vot­ing sys­tem, they would pre­fer mixed-mem­ber pro­por­tional, with 86 per cent se­lect­ing it as their first or sec­ond choice.

That was fol­lowed by ru­ral-ur­ban (43 per cent) and dual mem­ber (24 per cent).

A sim­ple ma­jor­ity is re­quired to change the vot­ing sys­tem.

Premier John Hor­gan, who sup­ports chang­ing to pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and B.C. Lib­eral leader An­drew Wilkin­son, who is in favour of first-past-the-post, par­tic­i­pated in a tele­vised de­bate on Thurs­day night, which po­lit­i­cal ex­perts said did not pro­vide vot­ers with any new in­for­ma­tion.

JONATHAN HAY­WARD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

About 87,000 mail-in bal­lots have been re­ceived so far by Elec­tions B.C. The dead­line is Nov. 30.

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