Referendum packages are being mailed starting this week. Completed ballots on the proportional representation vote must be received by Nov. 30. (Elections B.C.)

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Mail-in voting packages are on their way to registered voters across B.C., with five weeks to fill them out and mail them back in with your choice on whether to change the electoral system for the next provincial election.

Voters who don’t receive a package by Nov. 2 should ask for one, by visiting the Elections B.C. website at elections.bc.ca/ovr or calling 1-800-661-8683. Service B.C. offices around the province can also register voters and provide referendum packages.

The ballot is in two parts, with the first one a choice between the existing “first past the post” (FPTP) election system and changing to a “proportional representation” (PR) system. FPTP systems are used in Canada, the U.S., Australia and France. In B.C., a provincial election is really 87 separate elections, with the candidate with the largest number of votes becoming the MLA for each constituency.

Voters can answer just the first question if they choose. Or they can continue to the second part, and rank three different PR voting systems according to their preference.

RELATED: Canada Post union begins rotating strikes in Victoria

Elections B.C. has prepared a voting guide and a series of short videos that explain the workings of FPTP and each of the three options, dual member proportional, mixed member proportional and rural-urban proportional.

Maps of proposed new voting districts and other key details of how the new systems would work are not available until after the referendum.

Completed ballots must be received at Elections B.C. by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30. Instructions and key dates are in each voting package, along with directions on how to fill out the ballot and mail it back.

The existing system tends to favour larger parties and majority governments. Proportional representation makes it easier for small parties to win seats, and coalitions or agreements are usually needed before a government can be formed. Constituencies are usually larger and multi-member.

Here is a brief description of each option:

• Dual member proportional, where neighbouring pairs of districts in B.C. would be combined into one two-member constituencies, except for the larger rural districts, which would remain unchanged.

• Mixed member proportional, which combines single-member districts with party list candidates, added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote in an election.

• Rural-urban proportional representation, with multi-member districts for urban and semi-urban areas, with voters choosing their MLA on a ranked ballot. In rural areas, a mixed-member proportional system using candidate lists chosen by parties would be used.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hwy. 5 closed south of Blue River due to ‘vehicle incident’

Social media reports say a semi-truck lost its load

Police warn Barriere residents about suspicious prowlers on private property late at night or early morning hours

Residents advised to secure their vehicles and remove all valuable contents

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

African Children’s Choir making a difference in the world

Waroto Children’s Choir celebrate Christ and caring for community on six month world tour

Snowpack at normal levels, but El Niño is lurking

Despite a warmer than usual winter that has produced a dearth of… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read