SURREY (NEWS 1130) – British Columbians chose to keep our current first-past-the-post system, but numbers show Surrey, in particular, voted overwhelmingly to keep the system.
While the city of parks had the lowest voter turnout in all of B.C., areas like Cloverdale and Panorama saw more than 70 per cent of voters supporting the current system.
We know the results on electoral reform. But #SurreyBC had the lowest voter turnout in all of BC, and those who DID vote supported the current system. Why? I spoke to @diasmega8 who explained issues like language barriers & a rushed process are all factors. @NEWS1130 #ProRep pic.twitter.com/3Gg6axODP9
— Taran Parmar (@Tarankparmar) December 21, 2018
Political Scientist Megan Dias says the referendum was complicated enough, noting language barriers meant ethnic voters were left out.
“The language barrier definitely is a problem,” Dias adds. “You know even for people who are very familiar with our current system, you have this barrier of different terms, we’re talking about systems that you’re not neccessarily familiar with”
She says the process felt rushed, noting more deliberate consultation could have led to a higher voter turnout.
WATCH: BC Referendum – What’s on the ballot?
“Even the systems on the ballot, two of them have never really been talked about in the B.C. context so I think there was a lot of information covered in a short period of time.”
She says some voters weren’t engaged, and adds this was a missed opportunity for the ‘yes’ side to garner support in the city.
Dias also adds more locations should have been added for people to drop in their ballot.
More than 42 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots. Elections B.C. received 1,403,358 voting packages by the Dec. 7 deadline.