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

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Chute Lake Lodge opens June 1, offering glamping, yurt, and ebike rentals

Escape into the wilderness and #lovelocalpenticton when Chute Lake Lodge reopens for the season

Be prepared for high water, says RDOS

Higher than average water detected around the Ashnola Rover and Similkameen River

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Preparations for flooding in the Shuswap accelerate

A sandbagging machine and a crew to run it have been set up in Silver Creek.

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Most Read