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

VIDEO: SAR reinforcements from up Island arrive Sunday to help search for Ben Kilmer

Family, RCMP ‘extremely happy’ with the search effort so far, search manager tells volunteers

Robert Barron column: Nicole Lynch deserves a medal

It takes a great deal of courage to walk into a potentially dangerous situation

Drivesmart column: It’s motorcycle season

My experience investigating collisions reinforced that a rider must drive defensively at all times

David Suzuki column: Degree sparks necessary debate

Too often, though, the discussion has strayed from topics that need attention into personal attacks.

Search area expands as crews look for Ben Kilmer

Operation will continue into Saturday evening and resume on Sunday morning

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Coming up in Cowichan: Spring fair; Christian Science lecture; market

Get ready for some family fun with the Drinkwater Elementary School PAC annual spring fair

Cowichan Coffee Time: New principal, and fundraising galore

• School District 79 introduced Nicole Miller, who has been appointed principal… Continue reading

175 evacuation orders lifted as floods recede in Grand Forks

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Most Read