New data released by Elections B.C. on Wednesday indicates that 4.1 per cent of registered voters in Metro Vancouver have returned their transit plebiscite ballots.
Residents first began receiving their mail-in ballots through the mail on March 16. During these first two weeks of voting, a total of 63,663 ballots were returned and counted by the elections office, including 9,226 from Surrey (3.1%) and 54,437 from Vancouver (13.1%).
While this may appear to be a low turnout, the plebiscite’s voting timeline spans over a 10 week period ending at midnight on May 29. The bulk of the ballots are expected to be returned during the final weeks of voting.
More than 1.55 million residents in the region’s 23 municipal jurisdictions are registered to vote in the plebiscite. Ballots were mailed to registered voters from March 16 to 27 while eligible voters who did not receive a package have until May 15 to register to vote and request for a package.
Elections B.C. will release interim ballot return results on a weekly basis. The result of the actual ballot question will not be known until around mid/late-June.
The ballot question asks voters to approve a 0.5 per cent regional increase in the provincial sales tax (from 7.0 to 7.5%) to help fund the Mayors’ Council’s $7.5 billion, 10-year plan for transportation improvements.
This includes an underground extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line along Broadway, a light rail transit network in Surrey, a new seismically safe Pattullo Bridge, improved night bus service, the use of a third SeaBus and a significant increase in bus network frequency, including the introduction of 11 new B-Line rapid bus routes.