BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Election Voters List: Head Count To Be Conducted

02/25/2013 07:37 EST | Updated 04/27/2013 05:12 EDT
B.C. Gov
VICTORIA - Provincial politicians are not the only ones readying for an election.

More than two months before British Columbians go to the polls, the independent body that runs the massive ballot box production is compiling an up-to-date voters list.

Starting Monday, Elections BC will mail out more than 1.9 million notices to residential addresses, asking eligible voters to either register or update their information.

The process of enumeration, in which the accuracy and completeness of the voters list is verified, ensures that members of the public will be informed of their voting location and also make for a smooth vote come May 14.

The governing B.C. Liberals acknowledged Saturday it'll be a hard-fought election, though on Sunday the Opposition New Democrats said they expect a challenging campaign as well.

Elections BC Spokesman Don Main says that most people can register by mail or at provincial centres, the agency will be sending out officials to conduct door-to-door visits in certain neighbourhoods where mobility is high.

"We're reaching out to those communities that are traditionally underrepresented on the voter's list," Main said. "In B.C. First Nations, among youth from 18 to 34, ethnic communities, new Canadians, and highly mobile people who may go to work in an area in a short-time period."

He said students are often under-represented, and the officials will also walk into new subdivisions and residential complexes.

Staff will also visit homeless shelters, social service agencies and long-term care facilities.

B.C. statistics show there are an estimated 3.276 million eligible voters in B.C., according to Elections BC. However, the agency says it only has about 3.145 million of those people registered as of earlier this month.

That means about eight per cent of the population is not currently registered.

During the last provincial general election, in May 2009, about 2.995 million people were listed as registered voters.

Elections BC has no mandate to urge the public to vote, however, Main said the outreach activities are likely to ensure more people turn out on voting day.

"It's well known through all Canadian jurisdictions and western democracies that if people are on a voter's list, they're more likely to participate," he said.

The voters' list update will take place between Monday and April 23.

There will be 85 members of the legislative assembly to elect on election day.

In each of the last two general elections there was also a referendum question about electoral reform.

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