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FAQ: Referendum

What happens now that the Citizens' Assembly has recommended a change?
The question will be put to all the voters in BC as a referendum question at the next provincial election on May 17, 2005. If the voters clearly endorse the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendation, the government has promised it will introduce legislation so that the new electoral system could be in place for the following provincial election, in May 2009.

You must be registered to vote to cast your ballot in the referendum. Register or update your voter information with Elections BC.

Will there be a chance to vote for more than one alternative electoral system?
The Assembly’s mandate states that the referendum will offer only two options: the current system or the Assembly’s recommended system, BC-STV. In May 2004 a law was passed, stating that a referendum on the recommended model must be held in conjunction with the general election.

Members have drafted the question, “Should British Columbia change to the BC-STV electoral system as recommended by the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform? Yes/No” There are no provisions for an alternate question or answer.

How much support does the recommendation need to pass in a referendum?
In order for the referendum to pass, there needs to be 60% voter support throughout the province as well as majority support (over 50%) in 48 of the 79 (60%) of the province’s ridings.

Isn’t the 60/60 double majority too high?
The intention of this referendum requirement is to be sure that all parts of the province support this important change.  Also, there is nothing stopping the government from introducing legislation that would enable the new system to go into effect even if support for the Assembly’s recommendation does not quite pass the 60% threshold.

What happens if the referendum doesn’t pass?
Our voting system is absolutely central to our democracy. If British Columbians decide against BC-STV, then the Assembly will have given our voting system a thorough review and examination – a valuable check-up on its state of health.

Click here for more information on the referendum and its rules.

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