Last day to vote in proportional representation referendum

Today is the last day to vote in B.C.'s electoral reform referendum on proportional representation.

As of Friday, Dec. 7, Elections BC has received an estimated 1,356,000 returned ballots, or roughly 41% of registered voters.

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In Peace River North, 9,055 ballots have been received and screneed from 25,398 registered voters, or 35.7%.

In Peace River South, and 5,848 ballots have been received and screened from 17,531 registered voters, or. 33.4%.

Ballots are due by 4:30 p.m. and can be dropped off at the following locations in Northeast B.C.:

  • Dawson Creek: 1201 103rd Avenue

  • Fort St. John: 10600 100th Street

  • Fort Nelson: A7-5319 50th Ave South

  • Chetwynd: 4744 52nd Street

"Results will be reported when all the ballots have been tabulated, which will take several weeks," Elections BC says.

The ballot contains two questions: whether the first-past-the-post system should be kept or changed to a system of proportional representation. The second question involves ranking three proportional systems, which are:

— Mixed-member proportional, which would result in 60 per cent of members of the legislature being elected by the most votes and 40 per cent by lists set by political parties.

— Dual-member proportional, which would involve large ridings represented by two politicians, including one with the most votes.

— Rural-urban proportional, which would be a blend of the MMP for rural ridings and the single transferable vote system for urban ridings, though voters have already rejected it in 2005 and 2009 referendums.

Proponents of proportional representation say it's a fairer way of electing candidates because the percentage of votes would roughly equal the number of seats a party gets in the legislature. Opponents say local representation would be reduced with parties having more control.

Premier John Horgan, whose New Democrats formed a minority government last year after reaching an agreement with the Green party, is campaigning in favour of proportional representation.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver, who also favours a change, said the first-past-the-post model doesn't allow parties to work together and make compromises.

The BC Liberal party is campaigning against proportional representation.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright 2018 Alaska Highway News

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