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No side calls for extension to voting system referendum

Last Updated Nov 15, 2018 at 4:06 pm PST

(Source: iStock)

With Canada Post strike and low voter participation, No side says voting period should be extended

No side says low voter turnout could spark legitimacy issue

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We need to push back the deadline for the mail-in referendum on our voting system.

That’s the call from the No side, over concerns about the Canada Post labour dispute and low voter participation.

Given we’ve only got about two weeks to go before the deadline, the No BC Proportional Representation Society says the voting period needs to be extended.

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“We’ve seen a low turnout,” says Bill Tieleman with that society. “If we get somewhere in the range of 20 percent turnout, and half of those people plus one vote in favour, it really does not indicate to us that this is a call for change. But furthermore, this is a fundamental part of our democracy, how we elect our representatives to govern.”

WATCH: BC Referendum – What’s on the ballot?

Tieleman says if turnout is too low, there will be a legitimacy issue, especially given how important the issue of our voting system is.

“To have an extremely low turnout, way below [numbers from previous referendums] and perhaps in the 20 percent range, would make it extremely questionable at best that there was a mandate for any change,” says Tieleman.

Tieleman says he trusts Elections BC to decide an appropriate extension period, but is calling for at least an extra week.

At the moment, voting packages are expected to be in the hands of Elections BC by 4:30 p.m. on November 30, 2018 but Elections BC tells NEWS 1130 it’s watching the Canada Post labour dispute and is not ruling out an extension to the voting period.