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

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Heavy smoke throughout the region thwarted efforts of BC Wildfire Saturday, as… Continue reading

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Key to the SOEC 2017 winner grateful for experience

Petersen discusses what it’s like to win a year of free concerts at the SOEC

UPDATED: Super League organizers cancel Saturday afternoon races in Penticton

Inaugural North American triathlon hoping for clearer skies Sunday

Wildfire west of Summerland completely guarded

BC Wildfire Crews are on scene of two wildfires that started Aug. 17

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Trans Canada Highway opened again near Sicamous

Motor vehicle incident on Highway 1 between Sicamous and Malakwa closed road after 6 p.m.

West Kelowna wildfire evacuation alert rescinded

Alert rescinded Saturday for properties near four lakes within the Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Key to the SOEC 2017 winner grateful for experience

Petersen discusses what it’s like to win a year of free concerts at the SOEC

In Photos: Roots and Blues 2018 day one

Michael Franti and the Lil Smokies lit up the main stage to close out a day filled with great music

Most Read