This weeks columns for 24Hrs Vancouver: Time to look at mail-in elections

As voting closed in the transit plebiscite, the numbers surprised many.

In every Metro Vancouver municipality, the turnout surpassed the number of registered voters who cast a ballot in the 2014 municipal elections.

According to numbers from Elections BC — as of May 27 — nearly 45% of registered voters mailed their ballots in.

Some mayors called the turnout a success, and while the turnouts for the plebiscite were much better than the last election, overall the percentage is still low.

While Coquitlam saw an appalling 26% turnout in the 2014 election, nearly 46% of registered voters mailed in ballots for the plebiscite — a sizable increase. And while only 28% of registered North Vancouver city residents voted last year, nearly 47% returned their ballots on this issue. This story was repeated all over the Lower Mainland, with the exception of Surrey.

Surrey had the lowest plebiscite response at approximately 39.5% — a small increase over the 35% that voted in 2014. Vancouver also registered a marginal increase over the election turnout of 44%, coming in at 45.6%.

Looking at the numbers, it’s still a sad commentary on the state of engagement between cities and voters when a rate of 45% is considered a success.

Mayors often say they’re on the ground, connected to the community, yet one wonders how solid that connection is when so few people can be bothered to vote.

But was the contentious tax issue on the ballot behind the increase, or the method of voting itself?

While the mail-in vote was not without objections by some, many people I’ve spoken with found it more convenient than standing in a long line….

Read the rest of this weeks column and vote at

4 thoughts on “This weeks columns for 24Hrs Vancouver: Time to look at mail-in elections

  1. Just guessing: but the turnout may have been better because the issue was easier to grasp and the language used was less political-speak. More real. Too often our politicians don’t speak plainly, nor do they talk like real people talk. So, no one listens. If you don’t listen, you don’t know enough to have an opinion and so you don’t vote. But everyone knows transit. Everyone knows sales tax. If our politicians spoke plainly they would likely get skewered by out-of-context quotes so they don’t do it. But that just make them cowards not leaders. That is the reason we read you – you speak like a sane, healthy, real person.
    I dunno…jus’ sayin’….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Down with mail-in ballots! Okay, that’s off my chest…

    Down with online voting! Okay, okay, maybe off topic, but, while I’m at it, might as well note that mail-in ballots are, IMHO, a slippery, sloping steppingstone to online voting, a system similarly compromised in veracity, but which can be hacked, with consequences as serious as the level of election it could be applied to.

    Is the higher plebiscite turnout, compared to municipal elections, attributable to the undeniable convenience of mail-in voting? A single-issue plebiscite can’t be compared to a multi-issue municipal election.

    In retrospect, the provincial government should have taken steps to make the referendum unnecessary. Citizens seem to be at a loss in coming to some kind of consensus over transit because, in a better administrated society, they wouldn’t have to. Common sense quickly spots the fallacy the BC Liberal government bases its shirking transit non-policy on: taken to its logical conclusion, such an approach would eventually require a referendum to approve the maintenance, repair and upgrade of every single street. Typically neo-rightists regard the dollars the public saves by way of efficient economy in public enterprise, as dollars that should rightly flow to privateers, both eliminating the savings citizens could expect from public enterprise (economy of scale, access to low-interest financing, etc.) and adding the privateers’ profit margins to the cost of building and maintaining the service. This referendum, no matter the system used, should have really been about whether the provincial government should step up to the plate with regards transportation issues that directly affect half the population of BC who live in the Lower Mainland, and, indirectly, every British Columbian in all parts of BC.


  3. I’m more disturbed by the fact that its now June 7th and we still havent seen the results…
    The mayors and Metro Van trying to figure a way to “spin” a “No” landslide?
    If this was a local municipal election we’d have the results in a few hours.
    $6,000,000.00 spent and we’re back where we started.
    A dysfunctional Merto Van beaurocracy supported by Mayors without spines.


Comments are closed.