Record response to electoral reform engagement process

By Greg Fry
March 4, 2018 - 10:41am Updated: March 4, 2018 - 11:19am

VICTORIA — The provincial government says a record number of British Columbians provided input into its electoral reform engagement process.

Over the course of three months, the public engagement website received over 180,000 visits with over 88,000 questionnaires completed.

"Visitors spent time on the site learning about the referendum and voting systems used in B.C. and elsewhere in the world, in addition to spending an average of about 16 minutes completing the questionnaire," said the government in a news release. 

Attorney General David Eby was impressed noting how we choose our elected representatives "is a fundamental part of our democracy" and underlines how important the process is to residents.

He says the input will help shape the referendum process and the decision about the future of our democracy in a provincewide referendum.

In addition to the website, the engagement process received hundreds of written submissions from people, as well as submissions from more than 30 organizations.

Input gathered will inform a report by Eby with recommendations for the referendum. The Province says the final piece of the engagement process includes work being done by an Indigenous liaison, which should be completed in the coming weeks.

Following that the report will be posed on the public engagement website later this spring and presented to cabinet for decision.

Details will then be announced including the referendum date, campaign period, campaign rules and ballot question(s).

The Province says the referendum will be conducted through a mail-in ballot with results binding at 50 per cent plus one of the vote provincewide.

The referendum will be held no later than Nov. 30, 2018 and if approved, will be introduced in time for any provincial election held after July 1, 2021.

Though the questionnaire is now closed, you can visit the How We Vote engagement website for information about different voting systems by clicking here.

The BC NDP campaigned last year on a promise to hold a referendum on electoral reform. The BC Greens campaigned on a system to introduce proportional representation while the BC Liberals oppose a change to our first-past-the-post electoral system with Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone arguing the referendum would be biased in favour of the NDP.

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