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Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Elections BC said on November 19 that about 21 per cent of the eligible ballots had been returned so far


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VICTORIA – The potential impact of rotating postal strikes on British Columbia’s electoral reform referendum is being watched closely but so far there are no plans to extend the Nov. 30 mail-in deadline, Elections BC said Monday.

Rebecca Penz of Elections BC, the non-partisan election agency, said it has yet to determine that the ongoing labour situation at Canada Post will cause voters to miss the deadline.

She said Elections BC is monitoring ballot returns and keeping tabs on developments at Canada Post.

“It’s just not clear enough yet,” she said. “If and when we understand the impact we will be extending the deadline but we just don’t know if there’s going to be an impact at deadline time. That decision is still up in the air.”

Elections BC said Monday that about 21 per cent of the eligible ballots had been returned so far.

Penz said in 2011, Elections BC had to extend the mail-in deadline by two weeks for the provincewide referendum on the harmonized sales tax, but that was after a national lockout at Canada Post.

Officials at B.C.’s Vote No side called for an extension last week, citing the ongoing labour dispute and ballot returns that were below 20 per cent.

“Voters are obviously not mesmerized by this and the returns have borne that out,” said Vote No spokesman Bill Tieleman. “It’s incumbent upon us and our opponents and Elections BC to do everything we can to encourage people to vote in as large a number as possible.”

Tieleman said an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted and not caught in any potential backlogs.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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