Elections B.C. is releasing results this afternoon on the B.C. NDP government’s mail-in referendum on electoral reform.
The independent agency has counted nearly one million ballots in the vote, which offered a choice between the current first-past-the-post voting system and three different versions of proportional representation. The results are being announced shortly after 2:30 p.m. at the Elections B.C. office in Victoria.
Premier John Horgan promoted B.C.’s electoral reform options as a way to improve voter participation. In a year-end interview with Black Press, Horgan said the referendum turnout of just over 40 per cent is a valid response to change the system for at least the next two provincial elections.
“Democracy is about showing up,” Horgan said. “I’m pleased that we got 41-42 per cent voter turnout for a mid-term mail-in referendum. I think that speaks to a significant interest in the subject matter, and I’m encouraged by that.”
B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver wanted the province to legislate a change without a referendum. B.C. Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson has attacked the referendum, saying it was concocted by the NDP government and leaves too many questions unanswered until after the result is known.
“I campaigned to have a referendum,” Horgan said. “My Green colleagues preferred to just implement proportional representation. I wasn’t prepared to do that, and I have every confidence in the wisdom of B.C. voters and will live by the decision that they send us.”