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

ELECTION 2018: Sharie Minions named Port Alberni mayor

Haggard, Solda, Washington, Poon, Paulson and Corbeil named councillors

Four incumbents re-elected to School District 70 in Port Alberni

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board will have a new look

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Port Alberni residents enjoy public tours on Coast Guard vessel

PromoScience Expedition offered the public a chance to learn about marine research

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read