A report from the province’s Chief Electoral Officer is calling for 16- and 17-year-olds to be given the right to pre-register to vote, while also pitching a digitization of the voting process. The teens still wouldn’t be eligible to vote until they are 18, but they would be allowed to have their names added automatically to the voters list when they turn 18. Creating a system where voters can vote at any polling station and all votes are counted on election night is also proposed (PDF). The report suggests service to voters would be improved while making for more efficient staffing and close to real-time disclosure of voter participation data.
The proposed system would use paper ballots but tabulation would done with the help of computers connected to centralized servers. “Legislation limits the ability of Elections BC to adopt, even on a pilot project basis, new voting and counting technologies,” the report notes and goes on to point out that a legislative panel in 2014 recommended against adopting internet-based voting. Elections BC supports that position, they note.
Monday’s report also suggests Elections BC be given broader access to name, address and date of birth data held by public bodies in order to help maintain the voters list; currently Elections BC can only pull data from ICBC, BC Vital Statistics and Elections Canada. In Quebec, for example, the election agency is able to look at data from the provincial health insurance agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, while election agencies in Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia are able to look at data from any public agency which is covered by freedom of information legislation.