Sunday, May 10, 2009

You can vote anywhere in provincial election May 12

Unlike the Federal election, for the May 12 provincial election you can vote at any polling place in the province on election day. So, if there's a polling place across from your house or your workplace, for example, that is not your assigned location, you can vote there. Be sure to bring an official i.d. that shows your address, like a driver's license - or, one picture i.d. and one thing like a utility bill, for example, that shows your residential address. Persons lacking such things can bring a letter of attestation from a facilities manager, such as a shelter manager. Work on getting those letters has been underway on the Downtown East Side already.

The provincial electoral commission is nonpartisan, and they seem to be really working to help as many people to vote as possible. Poll workers have been instructed to err in favour of the voter - unlike the Federal election, where people were sent home. If you forgot your proper i.d., a neighbour can vouch for you - but a voter can only vouch for one other person.

There will be two ballots this time. One to vote for your choice for a Member of the Legislative Assembly, and one to vote on the Referendum.

The Referendum is asking if you agree to changing our voting system, or if you want to keep First Past the Post. As mentioned, I support the change to Single Transferable Vote. That will allow you to, for example, vote for the Green candidate first and the NDP second, so that if your first choice candidate doesn't win you haven't inadvertently helped the Liberals get a majority. Because adjacent ridings will be merged, you'll have more choices of candidates, so you can help elect more MLAs, but in the end the number of MLAs will be exactly the same. [The opposition is implying that there will be fewer MLAs under BC-STV. Not so!]

The STV is heavily supported by young people, and I don't think we should disappoint them. A review after three elections has been recommended by the Citizens Assembly; and the legislature is still allowed to change the system at any time.

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