It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform, and a new poll suggests the results hinge on last-minute voters.
Voters continue to be evenly divided on which system should be used to determine future provincial elections, according to results from an Insights West poll released Friday.
“The closeness of this race and the timing of the ballot submissions means that the outcome is too close to call,” said president Steve Mossop.
The online survey asked nearly 1,000 voters in B.C. which of four systems they support: the current first past the post, mixed member proportional, rural-urban proportional or dual member proportional.
Fifty-two per cent of people who voted at the beginning of the voting window favoured the current system. But of those who most recently cast their ballot, 61 per cent want proportional representation.
About 40 per cent of all eligible ballots have been submitted so far, according to Elections BC’s latest update.
“As in many close elections, the final referendum results are clearly dependent on voter turnout,” Mossop said.
”The late-stage younger voters who prefer [proportional representation] are critical in this entire process — if they follow through and actually turn in their ballots, we could see this side win — but that is uncertain.”
Four in five respondents said they were “aware and familiar” with the referendum, with men slightly more likely to be so than women.
Voters are also aligning their preference of voting system with party support, the poll suggests.
About 75 per cent of people who voted for the BC New Democratic Party want proportional representation, as do 60 per cent of BC Green Party supporters.
Meanwhile, 74 per cent of BC Liberal Party voters prefer the current system.
Forty-four per cent of respondents chose mixed member proportional system as their first choice, while 41 per cent picked it as their second choice. A further 27 per cent preferred rural-urban proportional system, and 15 per cent opted for dual member proportional.
Last day to vote in referendum
Friday is the last day to submit your ballot, after the original deadline was moved because of the ongoing strikes by Canada Post employees.
Those who vote on the last day have to submit their ballot in person for it to count by the 4:30 p.m. deadline. Those in Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby must bring their ballot to a Referendum Service Office.
Meanwhile, other British Columbians can return their ballot to a Service BC centre.
Elections BC said it will begin counting the ballots after the close of voting on Dec. 7 at 4:30 p.m., and results will take several weeks to tabulate.