Elections B.C. has released its sixth update on the number of Metro Vancouver residents who have returned their transit plebiscite ballots.
As of May 6, during the first seven weeks of voting, 35.3 per cent or 550,907 ballots were returned and counted by the elections office.
Here is a full breakdown of the returned ballot numbers to date:
During the first few weeks of the voting period, there was a wide gap in returned ballot rates with the city of Vancouver leading the suburban municipalities by a wide margin. However, the gap continues to narrow in the seventh week of voting and some of the suburbs are now leading voter turnout.
The number of returned ballots has been steadily climbing. Last week, the elections office counted 455,220 ballots or 29.2 per cent of the total number of registered voters.
In total, over 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.