Too close to call

Today is the last day for voters to decide the future of how governments are elected in B.C.

Voters have the choice of keeping the status quo, or introducing proportional representation to the electoral system.

Ballots for the 2018 referendum on electoral reform must be in today.

Completed voting packages must be returned in person at a referendum service office or Service BC Centre by 4:30 p.m.

Locations to drop off the ballots can be found online

Results will be reported when all the ballots have been tabulated, which will take several weeks.

As of Friday morning, 1,356,000 voting packages are estimated to have been received by Elections BC, which reflects returns from approximately 41 per cent of registered voters.

Elections BC will continue to update estimated returns next week as ballots received at in person drop-off locations by the deadline are sent to Elections BC in Victoria.

According to an Insights West survey, the referendum is a real nail biter.

The online survey of a representative sample of 965 British Columbians, who qualify to vote, reveals an extremely close race between keeping the current first past the post (FPTP) voting system and changing to proportional representation.

Of those who have already voted, half (49 per cent) say the province should maintain the FPTP system, while the other half (48 per cent) would prefer to switch to a prop rep system.

The game changer could be a rush of last-minute ballots that may tilt the final results as the survey showed late voters prefer prop rep over FPTP.

“The closeness of this race and the timing of the ballot submissions means that the outcome is too close to call,” said Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “As in many close elections, the final referendum results are clearly dependent on voter turnout. The late-stage younger voters who prefer PR are critical in this entire process — if they follow through and actually turn in their ballots, we could see this side win — but that is uncertain.”

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