Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pre-Registration of Teens on B.C. Voters List One Proposal for Election Upgrade

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pre-Registration of Teens on B.C. Voters List One Proposal for Election Upgrade

Article excerpt

B.C. mulls proposals to update voting

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VICTORIA - Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds in British Columbia to pre-register on the provincial voters list is one of several recommendations from the chief electoral officer now being considered by the legislature.

Keith Archer says in a report to the legislature that teens who register in advance would automatically be added to the voters list when they turn 18, and that would have a positive effect on voter turnout.

Archer also urges legislators to consider allowing greater access to personal information so electoral officials can ensure the voters list is kept up to date.

The report does not seek an end to paper ballots, but recommends the use of electronic poll books and ballot tabulators to make voting day more efficient as ballots are handed out and collected.

Attorney General David Eby says his ministry welcomes Elections BC's recommendations "with great interest."

"I think it's a great recommendation," he said of the call to pre-register underage but otherwise qualified electors on the voters list.

"Certainly it is forming the basis of discussion within government about ways we can ensure the younger voters get out there," he said.

The proposals would require changes to electoral legislation, and Eby said he hopes all the ideas in the report can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Archer's report also examines the length of the election calendar, noting the current 29-day campaign is fine for fixed-date general campaigns, but inadequate for on-demand or so-called "snap" elections. …

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