BC NDP seeks public input ahead of electoral reform referendum

BC NDP seeks public input ahead of electoral reform referendum

File photo.

File photo.

The B.C. NDP government is asking the public to provide input on next year’s referendum on proportional representation.

From Nov. 23 until Feb. 28, 2018, British Columbians can go online and provide input on key elements of the referendum, including ballot design, choice of voting systems and public funding distribution. The website has an online questionnaire and a place to provide comments.

People visiting the website can also review submissions from organizations and learn about voting systems used in Canada and around the world. There will be more information and resources added to the site in the new year.

“British Columbians deserve a say in the question of how we elect our members of the legislative assembly, and how our society is governed,” said Attorney General David Eby said Thursday.

“I encourage everyone to visit the engagement website to learn more and participate. We want to hear from all B.C. voters.”

The B.C. government introduced the Electoral Reform Referendum Act 2018 back in October to establish the referendum on whether to change the first-past-the-post voting system to proportional representation. Under proportional representation, voters elect representatives in proportion to the way they voted. The candidate with the most votes wins under the first-past-the-post system.

The referendum will be held no later than Nov. 30, 2018, and will be done through a mail-in ballot. Results will be binding at 50 per cent plus one of the province-wide vote.

Eby will serve as a neutral arbiter throughout the process to ensure the referendum is conducted in accordance with B.C. law. After the public engagement is completed, the Ministry of the Attorney General will prepare a report with recommendations, including suggested questions for the ballot. After the report is presented to cabinet, Eby will recuse himself from cabinet and caucus.

“This is the first step towards asking voters if they want a change from our current voting system to a system of proportional representation,” said Eby. “This is about giving British Columbians the power to decide how we vote.”

If the new voting system is approved, legislation will be introduced for the 2021 provincial general election.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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