B.C. wants teens signed up to vote

B.C.'s new chief electoral officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school.

B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer

VICTORIA – With participation in elections declining at every level, B.C.’s new chief electoral officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school.

Keith Archer released a report Monday suggesting the government consider that move, to get more young people registered and ready to vote when they turn 18. Currently the lowest level of participation is in the 18-to-25 age group, as well as the lowest number of registered voters.

“Our sense is that by introducing a provisional voter register, we’ll be able to communicate with young voters earlier on, and probably to do so as part of their high school social studies curriculum,” Archer said. “And partnering with with social studies curriculum developers provides us with a real opportunity to enhance civics education within that group, and to address generally the importance of voting in a democracy.”

Attorney General Shirley Bond said Monday she supports the idea in principle, especially after Saturday’s municipal elections where fewer than one in three eligible voters too place in many communities.

“We simply have to look at the elections that took place on the weekend,” Bond told reporters. “We need to make sure we look at how we get our participation numbers up, and what better place to start than young people.”

Archer is also recommending that the government explore options for electronic voting, which is being studied by Ontario and the federal agency, Elections Canada.

Municipal leaders endorsed the idea of online voting in local elections by a two-to-one margin at their annual convention in September. Archer said current B.C. election law does not allow for anything other than paper-based voting at the provincial level.

Bond said online voting was a commitment of Premier Christy Clark’s leadership campaign, and she intends to appoint an expert panel shortly to make recommendations.

“We have to make sure that it’s safe and secure, and people have been worried about that,” Bond said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

FVRD flooding evacuation alerts in effect

Unprotected areas affected include parts of Morris Valley Road and Lougheed Highway

Extra care required from Chilliwack drivers as students return to school

RCMP are enforcing speed limits in school zones and urging motorists to be extra cautious

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read