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B.C. Electoral Reform Referendum 2018: 5 things to know as deadline looms


The 2018 referendum on electoral reform package and mail-in ballot from Elections B.C.


JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Elections B.C. is reminding voters participating in the province-wide referendum on electoral reform that the deadline to ask for a voting package is Friday.

But with Canada Post in its fifth week of rotating strikes by thousands of unionized workers, there may be some confusion as to where to get a ballot or whether it will arrive if you mail it this week.

So here’s five things to know so far about the mail-in referendum:


BC Premier John Horgan and Andrew Wilkinson, Leader of the BC Liberal party, after a televised debate on electoral reform on Nov. 8 in Vancouver.

Gerry Kahrmann /

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1. When is the deadline?

The deadline to get a voting package is midnight Friday. Ballots must be received by Elections B.C. by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30.

2. Where do I get a voting package if I haven’t received one?

You can ask for one online at online at elections.bc.ca/ovr. Another option is to call 1-800-661-8683 on Thursday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and on Friday 8 a.m. to midnight.

You can also pick one up in person at a Service BC Centre or Referendum Service Office. To find the one nearest you go to elections.bc.ca/rso.

3. Will the strike at Canada Post affect my ballot being received by Elections BC?

Elections B.C. says it is monitoring the strike daily, and may extend the deadline if deemed necessary.  The basis for extending the deadline would be if job action prevents voters from participating through no fault of their own.

But don’t wait to find out if there will be an extension. Elections B.C. is encouraging voters to mail in their completed voting package as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, the federal government gave notice that they’re prepared to legislate Canada Post employees back to work, so the problem may be resolved soon. There is still a backlog of mail though.

4. What’s on the ballot?

The mail-in referendum asks voters whether they want to change to a proportional representation voting system or stick with first-past-the-post. If you vote for pro-rep, there is a second question asking you to rank your preferred choices for the type of pro-rep system out of three options. You can still answer this question if you vote to stick with first-past-the-post.

A majority of 50 per cent plus one is needed to win.

5. What if I still don’t know which one to vote for?

Elections B.C. has information about the different proportional representation systems here.

You may also want to read up on what each side has to say on the issue.

For the yes side visit here.

For the no side visit here.

You can also read Postmedia’s Gordon Hoekstra’s take on the pros and cons of electoral reform here.

ticrawford@postmedia.com


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