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Government to legislate confirming referendum on electoral reform

The legislation will fulfil a commitment made by the Province based on recommendations from the Attorney General’s report on electoral reform.

Government is introducing legislation to allow British Columbians the opportunity to vote in a confirming referendum on electoral reform, if a majority votes in this fall’s referendum to change B.C.’s voting system.

The legislation will fulfil a commitment made by the Province based on recommendations from the Attorney General’s report on electoral reform.

“It will be up to British Columbians to decide whether to change our province’s voting system, and it should also be up to British Columbians to decide whether to keep a new voting system after they’ve tried it,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “By legislating a confirming referendum after two general election cycles, our government is giving voters a safety valve to revert to the previous voting system after an opportunity to actually experience both systems.”

This fall, voters will decide whether to keep British Columbia’s existing First Past the Post voting system or change to a system of proportional representation. If voters choose to change the system, the proposed amendments to the Electoral Reform Referendum 2018 Act would require a confirming referendum on whether to keep the new system.

“This confirming referendum would allow British Columbians, not politicians, to have the final say on the voting system,” said Eby. “If, during either referendum, voters decide that the current system is preferred, the Government of B.C. will be bound by law to respect that decision.”

These amendments require that government conduct a confirming referendum within 13 months after two provincial general elections that use the chosen proportional representation voting system. For example, if scheduled general elections occur in October 2021 and October 2025, the confirming referendum would occur by Nov. 30, 2026.

Quick Facts:

  • Elections BC is responsible for administering the 2018 referendum on electoral reform.
  • The 2018 referendum voting period (by mail-in ballot) will run from Oct. 22, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2018.
  • The results are expected to be announced by the chief electoral officer by mid-December 2018.
  • A clear majority of respondents to the How We Vote engagement supported a confirming referendum.