B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman (Black Press)

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

Rotating postal strikes are not expected to disrupt delivery of 3.3 million voting packages for B.C.’s proportional representation referendum, Elections B.C. says.

The B.C. North and Interior, and Vancouver Island north of the Malahat are destinations for the first mail-out, along with the city of Vancouver. Voters in those regions should receive their ballot packages by Oct. 26.

The rest of the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria ballots are going out next week, with arrival expected by Nov. 2, said Anton Boegman, Chief Electoral Officer in charge of elections and referendum votes for B.C.

Elections B.C. has an online list of communities with expected delivery dates for packages.

People who haven’t received them by the expected time have until Nov. 23 to contact Elections B.C. to have one sent to them.

RELATED: Premier agrees to referendum TV debate, no date yet

The mass mailing has raised concerns that voting packages may be tossed in recycling and used by someone else. The package is designed to prevent that, with a series of envelopes that voters will need to use.

The completed ballot goes into a “secrecy envelope,” to ensure that there is no identification with votes when they are counted. The secrecy envelope goes into a “certification envelope,” which must bear the signature and date of birth of the voter. The date of birth is the “shared secret” that Elections B.C. uses to verify the vote is coming from the person it was addressed to.

That goes into a third, mailing envelope with postage pre-paid. Completed packages must be received at Elections B.C. by Friday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

“If the voting package is returned without a signature or a shared secret, it cannot be considered for counting,” Boegman said.

For those not inclined to trust the postal service, there are more than 60 Service B.C. offices that will have ballot boxes, and an additional eight referendum offices are opening around the Lower Mainland next week.

Boegman said experience with other mail-in referendums suggests that counting will take three to four weeks. That will likely put the announcement of results close to Christmas.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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