The trend in recent B.C. elections has been to more people voting in advance polls and fewer waiting until election day. (Elections BC)

Register voters in high school: Chief Electoral Officer

Report recommends longer campaigns for snap elections

Young people should be registered as voters at age 16 or 17 to prepare them to start participating in provincial elections, B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer says.

Archer has presented a report proposing a series of refinements to the province’s election system, to improve its performance in an era of scheduled four-year elections and a shift toward advance voting rather than waiting until election day.

The report notes that the lowest voter registration rates are for young voters between 18 and 24 years old, and conducting registration before the vote would make a first-time voter’s would likely increase participation.

“Not being registered to vote is an administrative barrier that makes it more difficult to participate in elections, and this is especially true for first-time voters and individuals who recently became eligible to vote,” the report states. “Currently, voter registration is restricted to those at least 18 years of age, an age when many youth have left high school and it is more difficult for Elections B.C. to reach them with information about voter registration and voting opportunities.”

The current minority government in B.C. raises the probability of a “snap” election, outside the four-year schedule that has been in effect since 2005. Archer concludes that the current 29-day campaign period works well for scheduled elections, where parties and voters are prepared before the official election period.

Most other provinces have a variable campaign period from 29 to 36 days, and Archer recommends adding between four and 10 days to unscheduled election campaigns, to give Elections B.C. more time to prepare voting places and materials.

A shift to “convenience voting,” in advance polls and via absentee voting, has helped keep overall voter turnout up, but the report notes they are “complex and labour intensive” for Elections B.C.

An increase in official errors was noticed in 2013, when election officials were working 14-hour days to process an increase in advance and special ballots on paper. The report recommends testing new electronic voting methods to streamline procedures while keeping the paper ballot system in place.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Coming up in Cowichan: Learn about chinook at one session, Cowichan health and hospital plans at another

Island Health’s board of directors will be in the Cowichan Valley Thursday for a public forum

George Nielsen brings managerial experience to bid for Duncan councillor

Like others, I am concerned with the increase of homelessness and drugs within the Valley.

Bayview Place pullout a magnet for trouble, Maple Bay neighbours say

North Cowichan council forwards concerns to police

Getting along and information flow essentials for Area G director candidate

Jonas feels working productively together makes a better community

Affordable housing, fiscal responsiblity important to Duncan city council hopeful Carol Newington

I recognize the importance of keeping Duncan Green, Clean and Safe!

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Cowichan Coffee Time: 4H, a marathon and fundraising

• A group of 4H-ers had a woolly good time at the… Continue reading

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

Most Read