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How were members selected?
In each electoral district (provincial constituency), 200 people were randomly selected from the voters list, by an Elections BC computer, to receive a letter asking if they would consider serving the province and public as a member of the Citizens’ Assembly.
This random sample was stratified by age, so that it reflected the age distribution of that district according to 2001 Census data. It was also stratified by gender: The 200 in each electoral district were made up of 100 men and 100 women.
In total, 15,800 British Columbians were sent this initial letter of invitation. Since there were 2,131,799 voters on the provincial voters list as of August 2003 (when the random list was generated), the chances of any one voter receiving a letter were one in 135. In some constituencies, where initial response was limited, invitations were extended to additional names randomly selected from the voters list. Again, the aim was to generate a representative pool of potential members.
From those who responded affirmatively, up to 20 were randomly selected from each electoral district and invited to attend a regional information meeting. At these meetings, potential members learned more about the opportunities and responsibilities of the Citizens’ Assembly. Then, at the close of each meeting, the names of one man and one woman were drawn at random to serve on the Citizens’ Assembly for each electoral district covered by the meeting.
By December 8, 2003, the first 158 members were selected — one man and one woman from each of the 79 electoral districts. On a purely statistical basis, British Columbians had a one-in-13,492 chance of being selected as one of those 158 members. On December 10, 2003, the provincial cabinet approved the addition of two Aboriginal members, drawn from the same random pool. The membership thus was set at 160.
Elections BC continues to register new voters although new registrants are not eligible for selection to the Citizens’ Assembly.