Elections B.C. has released its fourth update on the number of Metro Vancouver residents who have returned their transit plebiscite ballots.
As of April 22, during the first five weeks of voting, 21.8 per cent or 340,605 ballots were returned and counted by the elections office.
Here is a full breakdown of the returned ballot numbers to date:
As expected, areas that are more urbanized and possess a higher level of transit usage have a greater rate of ballot returns.
During the first two weeks of voting, just four per cent of eligible voters returned their ballots. By the end of the third week, the figure doubled to 8 per cent or 63,663 ballots and the number rose again last week to 15 per cent or 235,354 ballots.
In total, nearly 1.56 million residents across the region’s 23 municipal jurisdictions are registered to vote in the plebiscite. Eligible voters who have not received their ballots in the mail have until May 15 to register to vote and request for a ballot package.
Completed ballots must be returned to Elections B.C. no later than midnight on May 29 in order to be counted. A total of nine plebiscite service offices have opened at the region’s shopping malls to assist voters with registration and ballot return.
The ballot question asks voters to approve a 0.5 per cent regional increase in the provincial sales tax (from 7.0 to 7.5%) to help fund the Mayors’ Council’s $7.5 billion, 10-year plan for transportation improvements.
This includes an underground extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line along Broadway, a light rail transit network in Surrey, a new seismically safe Pattullo Bridge, improved night bus service, the use of a third SeaBus and a significant increase in bus network frequency, including the introduction of 11 new B-Line rapid bus routes.