Returned ballots for the 2011 referendum on the harmonized sales tax pile up at Elections B.C. processing centre. (Black Press files)

Returned ballots for the 2011 referendum on the harmonized sales tax pile up at Elections B.C. processing centre. (Black Press files)

B.C. referendum ballot count jumps to 18% returned, Elections B.C. says

New count adds ballots received, but not screened for authenticity

B.C.’s proportional representation referendum is showing signs of life, after Elections B.C. totalled up returned ballots awaiting screening before being added to the official count.

“This does not include ballot packages that have been received by Canada Post and not yet transferred to Elections B.C.,” the independent agency said in a statement Friday. Rotating strikes have had some effect on mail, as sorting centres have been picketed.

As of Friday morning, Elections B.C. reported it has received 597,300 ballot packages returned so far, representing 18 per cent of the more than three million registered voters who should have received them.

RELATED: Horgan shrugs off low referendum turnout

Friday’s total is more than double Thursdays, but this time it included ballots that have not yet gone through screening by Elections B.C. staff. Certification envelopes have to be checked to verify the identity of the voter, then ballots transferred in their “secrecy sleeves” for counting by electronic scanners.

Going by screened and verified ballots, the total is still below eight per cent as of Friday. (A ballot return report broken down in B.C.’s 87 provincial constituencies is here.)


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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