A new report released by Elections B.C. reveals 38,393 ballots in the recent Metro Vancouver Transit Plebiscite were not considered in the final tally because of a number of reasons.
The vast majority of rejected ballots, about 33,000, did not have a birthdate that matched with the voter record or failed to provide a signed certification envelope with a birthdate. Of particular note, more than 400 voters used certification envelopes that were not used by the individual to whom it was issued and 12 people tried to vote more than once.
Theoretically, the inclusion of rejected ballots into the result would have accounted for 2.4 per cent of the total number of votes.
The report also details voter participation by age group. Younger groups are more likely to use public transit and were thought to be the group that would care most about the issues at hand, but those between the ages of 25 to 34 had the lowest voter turnout with just 36.24 per cent of registered voters casting ballots.
The age groups of 18 to 24 and 35 and 44 had the second and third lowest voter turnout rates, at 41.1 per cent and 41.12 per cent.
Older voters age 45 and over had much higher participation rates and accounted for 66.68 per cent of the total voter participation figure. The highest rate of turnout was the 65 to 74 age group with a 64.71 per cent voting rate, followed by the 55 to 64 age group with 57.46 per cent and the 75+ age group with 56.11 per cent.
It should be noted that older groups had a significantly higher number of registered voters and the low turnout among younger groups is also reflected in elections. The plebiscite’s total voter participation rate was 48.62 per cent.
The ballot question of raising Metro Vancouver’s regional sales tax by 0.5 per cent to help fund a $7.5 billion transportation infrastructure improvement plan was rejected by 61.68 per cent voting ‘No’. A total of 757,183 valid ballots were counted.
Approximately $5.372 million was spent by the provincial government to administer the plebiscite, with major expenses such as $2.684 million for postal and courier services, $801,925 for salaries, $304,733 for information systems, $509,648 for general office expenses, $883,559 for advertising, and $136,831 for building occupation costs. The cost per registered voter was $3.44.