B.C. voters will choose a voting system for provincial elections this fall

This fall, British Columbians will vote on what voting system we should use for provincial elections.

The province is holding a referendum on electoral reform between Oct. 22 and Nov. 30, 2018. Voters will be asked two questions. The first question asks voters to choose between First Past the Post (FPTP) — the current system used in B.C. — or a system of proportional representation. The second question asks voters to rank three different proportional systems in order of preference: Dual Member Proportional (DMP), Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP). More information all the voting systems are available on Elections BC’s website and in their voter's guide.

To vote in the referendum, you must be a Canadian citizen, 18 or older on November 30, 2018, and a resident of B.C. since at least May 29, 2018. If you’ve never registered to vote, moved recently, or changed your name, make sure your voter information is up to date by visiting elections.bc.ca/ovr or calling 1-800-661-8683.

Elections BC will mail voting packages to registered voters between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2. Voters who don’t get their voting package by Nov. 2 can contact Elections BC. Voters can ask for a voting package until Nov. 23. All completed voting packages need to be returned to Elections BC no later than 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2018.

Don’t worry if you’re going to be away this fall; you can still vote. You can provide Elections BC with a temporary mailing address where they can send your voting package, or you can pick one up at a Referendum Service Office or Service BC Centre.

If more than half the votes on the first question support First Past the Post, the voting system will stay the same. If more than half the votes on the first question support proportional representation, the proportional system with the most support on the second question will become the province’s new voting system.

If a proportional system is adopted, it must be in place for provincial elections called on or after July 1, 2021, and some things will be decided after the referendum. Government has said that the total number of MLAs in the legislature will be between 87 and 95 (currently there are 87). An independent electoral boundaries commission will determine the number and boundaries of the electoral districts and regions in the province, and a legislative committee will determine how some aspects of the new system will work.

Voting in the referendum is an important way to make your voice heard and to participate in our democracy. For more information, visit the Elections BC website.

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