B.C. ELECTION: TURN ONE INTO THREE AND WE ALL WIN
By Harry Neufeld
This election, I’m asking for more than your vote. I’m asking you to help me turn one into three.
Because you’re reading a B.C. election story, I’m guessing you’re among the voting majority.
So I’m asking you to use your influence among friends, neighbours and family to speak with two other people who otherwise might not vote, and ask them to consider voting with you in the May 12 election and referendum on electoral reform.
We all know elections are about winners and losers. But they’re also about voters, who get the final say after all the candidates and media pundits have spoken.
By turning one into three, every British Columbian can be a winner, if not by the results of the election and referendum, then by voter turnout, an important measure of the strength of our democracy.
This is the one issue that all the candidates seem to agree upon: it’s important for as many people as possible to participate in this great democratic exercise.
We are poised on the threshold of two very important milestones in voter turnout in our province: two million voters and 60% of those eligible to vote.
If enough of us turn one into three, we will exceed two million voters for the first time in our history and surpass the 60% turnout rate for the first time in four B.C. elections and 18 years.
In British Columbia we have many things to be proud of. Add to that list the highest percentage increase in voter turnout in the most recent general election of any province or territory in the country. After hitting a low of 55% in 2001, we spurted ahead to 58% in 2005, in an era when most provinces and territories saw a decline in voter participation.
If we keep advancing at the same rate, we will emphatically end the pattern of declining voter turnout percentages that persisted in B.C. for two full decades and five consecutive elections.
At Elections BC, we’ve spent the past two years planning for the delivery of this election and referendum on electoral reform. Now we ask five minutes of your time to vote for the candidate and referendum option of your choice.
We also ask you to offer a ride or walk to the voting place to that young nephew who has never voted before, to that elderly pensioner down the street who seldom gets out of the house, to that colleague at work who always talks about sports but never about elections. If just two of them say yes, you’ll turn one into three.
We know many people lead busy lives today so we’ve tried to make voting as convenient as possible. If you’re registered to vote, you will receive your Where to Vote card in the first few days of May, advising you about your regular and advance voting locations. If you’re not registered, find out where to vote at the Know Your Electoral District page at www.elections.bc.ca or by calling 1-800-661-8683—you can register at the voting place.
Keep in mind, you get to vote when you want—not just on one particular day. May 12 is the day most people will vote, but you can choose any advance voting day—Wednesday, May 6 to Saturday, May 9. If you’re going to be busy or away those days, you can vote before then on any day except Sunday at your local district electoral office.
This is the golden hour of decision in British Columbia, your time to choose, your time to speak your mind, to decide the future—all three of you.
Harry Neufeld is the Chief Electoral Office for British Columbia.