British Columbians are in no rush to submit their mail-based referendum ballots on electoral reform, according to the latest data released by Elections BC.
Of the the 3,290,810 eligible voters in the province who've been receiving mail-in ballots via Canada Post since mid-October, only 47,054 – or 1.4% – have been returned to Elections BC.
The Capital Region's participation rate, however, fares even worse than the already shockingly low provincial average.
Of the south Island's seven electoral districts a total of 96 (yes, four fewer than one hundred) ballots have been mailed back. Out of 298,920 eligible voters the rate of participation is one decimal space too far from even registering on Elections BC's tally (it's 0.03% for those with a curious mind).
Although a roving postal strike could delay receipt of the mail-in ballots and their subsequent return to Elections BC in Victoria, the poor showing in the first few weeks of the referendum period could be taken in one of two ways: an opportunity to motive participants to, well, participate, or a startling sign of indifference towards British Columbia's political future.
Voters have until November 30th to ensure their ballot is received. This means ballots must be in the mail at least several business days prior to the end of the month. Eligible voters who have not received a ballot in the mail have until November 23rd to request one.
While true that most referendums of this nature must meet a minimum threshold in order for their result to be statistically relevant or indicative of the wishes of at least a reasonable minority of the electorate, the NDP have elected to thwart the need for a quorum. This means if only 5% of British Columbians return their ballot the results based on that 5% will be upheld as the will of the people by the provincial government. C
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