B.C. wants teens signed up to vote

B.C.'s new chief electoral officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school.

B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer

VICTORIA – With participation in elections declining at every level, B.C.’s new chief electoral officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school.

Keith Archer released a report Monday suggesting the government consider that move, to get more young people registered and ready to vote when they turn 18. Currently the lowest level of participation is in the 18-to-25 age group, as well as the lowest number of registered voters.

“Our sense is that by introducing a provisional voter register, we’ll be able to communicate with young voters earlier on, and probably to do so as part of their high school social studies curriculum,” Archer said. “And partnering with with social studies curriculum developers provides us with a real opportunity to enhance civics education within that group, and to address generally the importance of voting in a democracy.”

Attorney General Shirley Bond said Monday she supports the idea in principle, especially after Saturday’s municipal elections where fewer than one in three eligible voters too place in many communities.

“We simply have to look at the elections that took place on the weekend,” Bond told reporters. “We need to make sure we look at how we get our participation numbers up, and what better place to start than young people.”

Archer is also recommending that the government explore options for electronic voting, which is being studied by Ontario and the federal agency, Elections Canada.

Municipal leaders endorsed the idea of online voting in local elections by a two-to-one margin at their annual convention in September. Archer said current B.C. election law does not allow for anything other than paper-based voting at the provincial level.

Bond said online voting was a commitment of Premier Christy Clark’s leadership campaign, and she intends to appoint an expert panel shortly to make recommendations.

“We have to make sure that it’s safe and secure, and people have been worried about that,” Bond said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds fill Chilliwack streets for Black Lives Matter march

‘Canada has a problem too,’ reads at least one protester’s sign

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

Chilliwack RCMP heard gunfire en route to suspicous activity

Chilliwack man, 42, sent to hospital after shooting, RCMP have confirmed

Harrison officials carefully monitoring E.coli levels in lagoon

Levels testing unusually high for this time of year, officials say

Flock on vacation

The sun sets over Harrison and its feathered residents

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

Most Read