Ready to vote in the 2018 referendum on electoral reform? If not, here’s what you need to know

Oct 9 2018, 4:15 pm

Have you heard about the referendum this fall? You might have already received some info in the mail. But in case you missed the message or need a refresher, we’ve got you covered.

So, what exactly is BC voting on?

A referendum, or public vote, is being held on provincial electoral reform. That means we need to decide which voting system we want to use for provincial elections. The referendum is being held by mail between October 22 and November 30.

There are two key things that you can do now to get ready. First, register to vote or update your voter information, especially if you’ve never registered to vote, moved recently, or have changed your name.

If you’re a Canadian citizen, 18 or older on November 30, 2018, and a resident of BC since at least May 29, 2018, you’re eligible to vote in the referendum! You can register or update your information online at or by calling 1-800-661-8683.

Second, get informed about what we’re voting on. We’ll be deciding what voting system we should use for provincial elections. Basically, a voting system is how we elect Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Each voting system has different rules about how voters cast their ballot, how votes are counted, and how votes translate into seats in the legislature.

Voters will be asked two questions on the ballot. The first question asks if we should keep the current First Past the Post voting system or move to a system of proportional representation. The second question asks voters to rank three proportional systems in order of preference: Dual Member Proportional (DMP), Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), and Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP). You can answer one or both questions, and you can choose if you want to rank one, two, or all three systems on the second question.

You can learn about all the voting systems on Elections BC’s website, or read their handy voter’s guide for a rundown of the whole referendum process and an overview of all the voting systems.

Registered voters will get a referendum voting package in the mail between October 22 and November 2. If you don’t get one, you can ask for one until November 23. Out of town? Don’t worry, you can have your voting package sent to a temporary address, or pick one up at a Referendum Service Office or Service BC Centre.

Remember that your completed package needs to be in the hands of Elections BC by November 30, so make sure to mail it back in plenty of time or deliver it in person to a Service BC Centre or Referendum Service Office.

Okay, we admit it: sometimes we’re known for taking a leisurely approach to things. But avoid that urge when it comes to the referendum. Make sure to register or update your voter information if needed — and don’t forget to mail your ballot back on time. Take some time today to read up on what this is all about and which option makes the most sense for you.

Happy voting!

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