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

Freshet of 2018 evokes memories of the flood of 1948

And while the devastation of 70 years ago informs flood protection now, similar event not predicted

Chilliwack Chiefs prove doubters wrong with RBC Cup triumph

The Chiefs played with a chip on their shoulders, claiming their 1st-ever national junior A title.

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Rising river prompts road closure in Chilliwack

Fraser expected to continue rise on Monday

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: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Arrest made in last week’s double shooting in East Van

Carleton Stevens, 37, is charged with attempted murder and remains in custody

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Most Read