One month to help shape referendum on how B.C. votes

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Attorney General, David Eby
David Eby
David Eby

VICTORIA: A public engagement on electoral reform ends in one month, and British Columbians are encouraged to make their voices heard to help shape the referendum that will determine how B.C. votes.

The engagement, launched by Attorney General David Eby on Nov. 23, 2017, invites British Columbians to learn about different voting systems and to complete a questionnaire on various aspects of the upcoming referendum. To do so, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote/ (https://engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote/)

So far, more than 31,000 British Columbians have visited the website, while more than 11,000 have completed the online questionnaire, offering input on such topics as how the 2018 referendum ballot should be designed, the question(s) it should contain, and whether organizations should receive public funding to campaign for their preferred voting system.

“This is another step government is taking to give people the power to shape our democracy,” said Eby. “I encourage everyone to make their voices heard in this engagement, and to help shape a referendum that will determine how B.C. elects its members of the legislative assembly, and how they represent you.”

As part of today’s reminder, government has added a suite of materials to the engagement website on the various voting systems, including educational slideshows, and has sent a mail-out to all B.C. homes encouraging British Columbians to visit the site and complete the questionnaire.

Translated versions of the questionnaire and central website content will be available in the coming days in French, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional and Punjabi.

The public engagement closes Feb. 28, 2018, after which results will inform a report prepared by the Attorney General, which will be posted publicly before being presented to cabinet. Details will then be announced, including the referendum date, campaign period, campaign rules and ballot question(s).

Quick Facts:

• Government introduced the Electoral Reform Referendum Act, 2018, on Oct. 4, 2017, to establish the referendum, which will be held no later than Nov. 30, 2018.

• The referendum will be conducted through a mail-in ballot, with results binding at 50%+1 of the vote provincewide.

• If a new voting system is approved, legislation will be introduced in time for any provincial election held after July 1, 2021.

• The Attorney General will serve as a neutral arbiter throughout the process to ensure the referendum is conducted fairly and in accordance with B.C. law, and will recuse himself from all cabinet and caucus debate and decisions regarding the referendum.

• Those requiring help accessing the website can visit their nearest public library for assistance before the engagement closes Feb. 28, 2018.