Fewer than half of bal­lots re­turned

The Daily Courier - - CANADA -

VAN­COU­VER — An ad­vo­cate for main­tain­ing Bri­tish Columbia’s elec­toral sys­tem as it is ques­tions whether res­i­dents re­ally care about re­form, given voter turnout fig­ures re­leased on the fi­nal day of the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign.

Elec­tions BC said it had re­ceived 41 per cent of el­i­gi­ble bal­lots by Fri­day morn­ing in the ref­er­en­dum, which asks vot­ers whether they would pre­fer to keep the ex­ist­ing first-past-the-post sys­tem or move to a form of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Bal­lots could be re­turned by mail or in per­son, and those re­ceived be­fore a 4:30 p.m. dead­line on Fri­day will be counted.

“Forty-one per cent in­di­cates to me that most Bri­tish Columbians re­ally don’t find pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion or our elec­toral sys­tem an ex­tremely im­por­tant topic,” said Bill Tiele­man of “Vote No to Pro Rep,” adding it’s likely that the turnout will re­main lower than two pre­vi­ous ref­er­en­dums in 2005 and 2009.

“It kind of in­di­cates what we’ve said all along, that this ref­er­en­dum wasn’t nec­es­sary.”

The lat­est ref­er­en­dum is bind­ing and the win­ner will be de­clared by a sim­ple ma­jor­ity of votes cast.

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