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B.C. electoral reform referendum deadline extended to Dec. 7

The deadline for mail-in voting packages in British Columbia’s electoral reform referendum has been extended by a week. With the extension, Elections B.C. said it must receive ballots by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7.
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A person mails their electoral reform referendum ballot after a rally in Vancouver on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.

The deadline for mail-in voting packages in British Columbia’s electoral reform referendum has been extended by a week.

With the extension, Elections B.C. said it must receive ballots by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Chief electoral officer Anton Boegman said the extension is to ensure that voters are not prevented from taking part because of rotating strikes at Canada Post. Voters are encouraged to return their completed ballots in the mail as soon as possible.

The deadline to request a voting package has passed — it was not changed and remained Friday at midnight.

The referendum asks B.C. voters if they support the current first-past-the-post electoral system or if they back a form of proportional representation for the next election, which is set for 2021.

As of Friday, Elections B.C. said about 30 per cent of voting packages had been returned.

Bill Tieleman of the No Proportional Representation Society of B.C. had urged Elections B.C. to extend the referendum because of the postal strike. “I think that another week is long enough,” he said. “It will help ensure that every voter across the entire province gets their opportunity to vote on this referendum and make sure that we get at least a decent turnout, hopefully that would make it a legitimate process.”

In addition to asking voters which system they support, the ballot also includes a second question that allows voters to rank their preference for three types of proportional representation.

Any move away from the first-past-the-post system would require a vote of 50 per cent plus one in favour.

Ballots can also be delivered in person to Referendum Service office or most Service B.C. offices. The Elections B.C. website has a list of offices that accept ballots at elections.bc.ca/rso.