Editorial: Extended deadline for referendum means there’s no excuse not to vote

Now there’s really no excuse.

Elections BC announced on Friday that the deadline to get your vote in on the referendum on electoral reform has been extended from Nov. 30 to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman said that in consultation with Canada Post, which has been operating with a series of rotating strikes by postal workers for the last several weeks, they’ve come to the conclusion that the ability of people to get their votes in on time has been affected. So they’re giving everyone more time.

So if you’ve just been too lazy to vote thus far, (or have been telling yourself you just haven’t had a minute to do it yet), it’s time to open that package that was sent to you weeks ago, read through the information, mark your ballot, and head either to the mail box, or, if you want to be sure to be counted, head to your Service BC Centre in Duncan and give them your envelope in person.

As of Nov. 20, Elections BC estimated that only about 24 per cent of people in the province had voted. In Cowichan, that number shrinks to a pathetic 14.8 per cent.

That is a number we should be ashamed of.

We are choosing the very future of our voting system in this province and way less than a quarter of the population of the Cowichan Valley has been bothered to mark a ballot.

This decision will affect 100 per cent of voters in B.C. But it’s about to be made by a tiny fraction of that number. Why haven’t 100 per cent voted? Don’t people want to control their own destiny?

It’s not that complicated. If you want to keep our current first past the post system you just have to tick one box and you’re done. If you want to try proportional representation you also really only have to check one box and you’re done, too, though you have the additional option of voting for which proportional representation system you want to see brought in.

If there was ever a time to ditch the apathy that has proliferated like a nasty fungus throughout our provincial and even national democracy, this is it.

Anyone who uses the structure of the first past the post system as a reason to shirk their responsibility to vote in our provincial elections should be chomping at the bit to cast their ballot here.

So with a little less than two weeks to go, what are you waiting for?

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