Paper ballot scanners and other new technology allow B.C. voters to go to any available table, reducing lineups when voting. (Elections B.C.)

Paper ballot scanners and other new technology allow B.C. voters to go to any available table, reducing lineups when voting. (Elections B.C.)

B.C. aims to register provincial voters starting at age 16

Voting age remains 18, candidates to get access to strata buildings

The B.C. government is moving ahead with changes to how provincial elections are conducted, including the registration of future voters starting at age 16.

Attorney General David Eby introduced changes to the B.C.’s election law Thursday, based on recommendations from B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer, Anton Boegman. Starting voter registration at 16, as is already done for federal voters’ lists, is a way to increase the registration rate for young voters, Eby told the legislature. The voting age remains at 18.

Boegman welcomed the change, which would be in effect for the next scheduled election in October 2021.

“Youth between the ages of 18-24 participate in B.C. provincial elections at a rate much lower than other age groups,” Boegman said. “Enabling 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote represents a significant opportunity to remove administrative barriers to their participation when they turn 18.”

The amendments also give access by provincial candidates and official representatives to strata and co-op apartment buildings, as they already have in rental properties. They can knock on doors and distribute campaign materials as they do with single-family homes and townhouses.

RELATED: Elections B.C. calls recounts in close 2017 votes

RELATED: Voter registration push for electoral reform vote

The changes also require unsuccessful nomination candidates for political parties to file financial disclosures with Elections B.C., as winning candidates have to do.

Other changes include introducing ballot scanners for B.C. elections, similar to the counting machines used in many local government elections. Paper ballots will still be marked, but the scanners allow faster counting.

For people voting outside their home constituency, ballot printers will be available so they don’t have to use a mail-in ballot that arrives later where they would normally vote. The scanners read the ballot and record it automatically for the home constituency, making election-night results more complete.

For snap elections that occur when a minority government is defeated in a confidence vote, the changes allow an extension of the formal voting period of four to 10 days, to make sure the final election day is always on a Saturday.

The amendments also give Elections B.C. access to provincial records to help keep address changes and other information up to date on the voters’ list.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Northern Health announced on Dec. 1 holiday changes to the medical travel bus schedule for December and January 2021. (Photo: supplied)
Holiday schedule changes for Northern Health Connections bus

N.H. announces transportation time changes from Prince Rupert to Prince George

A Water Quality Advisory is still in affect on Dec. 1 in Prince Rupert after being in place for a month. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory still in place for Prince Rupert

High turbidity is creating risky drinking water in Prince Rupert

Pea sized hail rained from the skies in Prince Rupert on Nov. 30 leaving roads covered in a sheet of ice. (Photo; K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Large hail caused icy conditions in Prince Rupert

High wind warnings in effect for North Coast and Haida Gwaii

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read