ONLY 41 PER CENT OF BAL­LOTS RE­TURNED IN B.C.’S ELEC­TORAL RE­FORM REF­ER­EN­DUM

The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - BRITISH COLUMBIA -

An ad­vo­cate for main­tain­ing Bri­tish Columbia’s elec­toral sys­tem as it is ques­tions whether res­i­dents 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.

“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.

In 2005, voter turnout was 61 per cent. About 57 per cent of bal­lots were cast in favour of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, which did not meet the thresh­old of 60 per cent to make it bind­ing on the gov­ern­ment. Four years later, voter turnout was 55 per cent and 61 per cent voted in favour of first past the post. The lat­est ref­er­en­dum is bind­ing and the win­ner will be de­clared by a sim­ple ma­jor­ity of votes cast.

Elec­tions BC spokes­woman Re­becca Penz said fi­nal turnout num­bers will con­tinue to be re­ported into early next week. She said the elec­tions au­thor­ity is hop­ing to re­lease re­sults by Christ­mas.

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