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Referenda & Plebiscites

Referenda and Plebiscites

Referendum

A referendum is a vote on a matter of public interest or concern. Registered voters indicate their opinion by marking a ballot in response to one or more questions asked of them by the provincial government.

Elections BC administers provincial referenda conducted under the Referendum Act. For information about campaign finance rules for local assent votes (sometimes called referenda), see the Assent Voting page.

Previous referenda

Five referenda have been conducted in B.C. since 1991. In that time, voters have been asked to express their opinions on the recall and initiative process (1991), treaty negotiations (2002), electoral reform (2005 and 2009), and the Harmonized Sales Tax (2011).

Visit our Reports page for more information about past referenda.

Referendum process

Referenda are conducted under the Referendum Act or legislation established for the administration of a specific referendum. The procedures and rules for each referendum may be different and are determined by government regulation.

Referendum results are usually binding on government. If more than 50% of the validly cast ballots vote the same way on a question stated, that result is binding on the government that initiated the referendum.