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