Voter Registration Notices are in the Mail
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2017
VICTORIA – Voter registration notices are being sent across British Columbia starting today, marking the beginning of Elections BC’s efforts to update the voters list before the 2017 Provincial General Election.
“We’re mailing over 1.9 million notices across the province to ask eligible voters to register to vote or update their voter information,” says Keith Archer, B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer. “Registering to vote is easy online at elections.bc.ca/ovr, or by calling 1-800-661-8683.”
The notices also indicate the new electoral district for each voter, which will come into effect when the election is called. There will be 87 electoral districts for this election, up from the current 85. More information about the new districts, including an interactive digital map showing their boundaries, is available at elections.bc.ca/resources/maps.
Starting on March 8, Elections BC will actively look to register voters throughout the province. Registration drives will be held at high traffic locations in each electoral district, including shopping malls, community centres, and at every post-secondary campus in B.C. Enumerators will make door-to-door visits in selected high mobility neighbourhoods, new subdivisions and residential complexes.
“We want to ensure the voting process is as accessible as possible,” says Archer. “Updating the voters list is an important part of that goal.”
Voters registered before the election is called will receive a Where to Vote card from Elections BC, making the voting process faster and easier. Registration online and by phone is open until midnight on April 11, 2017.
For more information, visit Elections BC’s website at elections.bc.ca.
Backgrounder – 2017 Enumeration
Elections BC is the independent, non-partisan Office of the Legislature responsible for administering electoral processes in British Columbia under the Election Act, Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, Recall and Initiative Act and Referendum Act.
February 14, 2017
What is a “voters list update” or enumeration?
- A “voters list update” or enumeration is a set of voter registration outreach activities conducted before an election.
Why does Elections BC conduct enumerations?
- The Election Act establishes enumerations as an opportunity for voters to register to vote or update their voter registration. Enumerations improve the completeness and accuracy of the provincial voters list. This is particularly important in B.C., which has a high mobility rate.
- A complete and accurate voters list makes the voting process more efficient. Voters registered before an election is called receive a Where to Vote card from Elections BC, informing them of their voting options, and enabling them to vote quickly and easily by reducing their time at the voting place. A complete and accurate voters list also makes it easier for election officials to administer the voting process.
- The 2017 Enumeration is taking place between February 14 and March 31, 2017. Elections BC’s goal is to meet or exceed the high level of voters list quality that was achieved following the last enumeration conducted in 2013.
- Elections BC’s outreach has a dual emphasis. First, a universal approach is taken with the mailing of voter registration notices to every residential address in B.C. The notices advise residents who is on the voters list at that address and ask residents to contact Elections BC if the information needs correcting or updating. Second, a targeted approach is taken to reach out to groups who historically have been under-represented on the voters list, including youth, First Nations and new Canadians.
- Beginning in March, Elections BC officials will visit post-secondary institutions, First Nation communities, ethnic communities, residential care facilities and homeless facilities to provide voter registration services and information about the general election. The objective of these outreach activities is to make voter registration accessible for all British Columbians, particularly those who may face barriers to participating in the provincial electoral process.
- Elections BC’s plan for the 2017 Enumeration builds off the model used in 2013, combining a mix of outreach activities designed to meet the unique needs of each of the province’s electoral districts. The schedule for these activities will be posted on Elections BC’s website as they are confirmed and include registration drives, door-to-door visits, and community outreach events.
- In addition to the distribution of voter registration notices province-wide, Elections BC is conducting a public awareness campaign encouraging voters to register to vote or update their voter information. The campaign is running from now until March 31 and includes advertisements through traditional and digital media.
- 3.4 million – approximate number of estimated eligible voters in B.C. (BC Stats)
- 3,156,316 – number of registered voters in B.C. as of February 9, 2017 (Elections BC)
- 3,176,455 – number of registered voters as of the May 14, 2013 Provincial General Election (Elections BC)
New electoral districts
- Every eight years an independent, non-partisan Electoral Boundaries Commission is established to propose changes to the area, boundaries and names of British Columbia’s electoral districts. This ensures that each Member of the Legislative Assembly represents about the same number of people.
- The Melnick Commission (appointed in May 2014) submitted proposals for boundary and name changes to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in September 2015, including the addition of two new electoral districts – one in Surrey and the other in Richmond. The Legislative Assembly voted to approve the proposals. On November 17, 2015, the Electoral Districts Act was passed, which established the 87 electoral districts that come into force when the 2017 Provincial General Election is called.