A new, modernized voting system will likely be in place when British Columbians cast their ballots in the next provincial general election.
Elections BC received a letter July 3 from Attorney General David Eby, indicating the province’s intention to introduce the legislative changes aimed at increasing accessibility and efficiency come election day.
“Should voting modernization be adopted, it will improve the voting experience for British Columbians, make voting faster, improve accessibility, speed up results, and provide candidates with current participation information to assist them in their efforts to get out the vote,” said Anton Boegman, B.C.’s chief electoral officer, in a news release Thursday.
The proposed changes include:
- Being able to vote at any polling place in the province.
- All votes, including absentee ballots to be counted on election night.
- Voting activity recorded in an electronic voting book covering the entire province, for faster ballot counting.
- Participation captured in real-time, electronically, with votes uploaded to central servers.
- Uploaded votes to be instantly shared with candidates and political parties.
The new technologies would also increase accessibility for voters with disabilities by way of updated assistive voting devices.
The goal is for the new systems to be in place for B.C.’s next scheduled general election on Oct. 16, 2021.
The estimated cost to develop and implement the proposed voting model in B.C. is $11 million.
If the Legislative Assembly adopts the amendments, it would be the most significant update to voting procedures in at least 20 years, according to Boegman.