Lib­er­als say a fraction of B.C. vot­ers in ref­er­en­dum shouldn’t be able to over­haul elec­tions

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - DAVID P. BALL

Three days after Elec­tions B.C. started count­ing how many elec­toral ref­er­en­dum bal­lots it’s re­ceived, crit­ics of the process are crit­i­ciz­ing the ex­tremely low turnout so far — and de­mand­ing the NDP govern­ment step in.

The in­de­pen­dent agency said as of Wed­nes­day it had re­ceived 1.4 per cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers’ bal­lots, slightly more than 47,000 votes, dou­ble those re­turned by Mon­day. That has the BC Lib­er­als in­sist­ing the NDP ex­plain why there’s no min­i­mum thresh­old to change the way Bri­tish Columbians vote — a point they’ll likely re­peat Thurs­day as Pre­mier John Hor­gan squares off in a de­bate against Lib­eral Leader An­drew Wilkin­son.

“The num­bers are deeply con­cern­ing,” said the Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion in an email to party sup­port­ers. “It’s time for John Hor­gan and the NDP to tell us just how low turnout has to be for them to aban­don their plan to im­pose pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion on Bri­tish Columbians. They’ve stacked the deck by not set­ting a min­i­mum thresh­old for the re­sults to count — and we can’t let them get away with it.”

This is B.C.’S third ref­er­en­dum on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but the first to re­quire only a sim­ple ma­jor­ity to pass, rekin­dling re­form­ers’ hopes of hav­ing leg­is­la­ture seats bet­ter re­flect the pop­u­lar vote, known as pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

B.C.’S bal­lot asks two ques­tions: First, whether to keep first-past-the-post vot­ing or change to pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion; and se­cond, to rank three pro­por­tional sys­tems in or­der of pref­er­ence. Ref­er­en­dum vot­ing pack­ages must be re­ceived by Elec­tions B.C. be­fore 4:30 p.m. Nov. 30, by mail or in-per­son at Ser­vice B.C. cen­tres.

A look back to the

2011 ref­er­en­dum on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion at thes­

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