Lisa Helps says she’s in favour of proportional representation (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Lisa Helps says she’s in favour of proportional representation (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in favour of proportional representation

Electoral reform referendum ballots are being mailed out this week

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says she’s in favour of proportional representation for the coming referendum.

Now that municipal elections are over, British Columbians are expected to partake in the 2018 referendum on electoral reform. The referendum asks residents if the province should continue using first past the post as their election format, or if it should be switched to proportional representation. Three different types of proportional representation will also be voted on: dual-member proportional, mixed member proportional and rural-urban proportional.

WATCH: Proportional Representation 101

The mail-out ballots that started coming Monday Oct. 22, continue to be sent out until Nov. 2.

“Representation matters. Democracy doesn’t work when large portions of the population go without feeling represented for extended periods,” Helps said. “This breeds frustration and, at its worst, contributes to the breakdown of our discourse.”

To further show her support for the referendum, Helps will attend a rally tonight (Oct. 23) at 6:30 p.m. in the Crystal Gardens, hosted by the provincial government.

“We need a system that actively represents people across the political spectrum, not just some of the time but all of the time. Only when more people feel represented in our democracy will we see a shift back toward more civil dialogue and politics.”

READ MORE: Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’

Voters can fill out the ballots and mail them back with pre-paid envelops, or take them to a ServiceBC Centre, or a Referendum Service Office until Nov. 30. If voters have not received their voting package by Nov. 23 they can contact ElectionsBC to ask for one.

Rotating postal strikes are not expected to affect the referendum schedule, but if this changes, the Chief Electoral Officer can extend the voting period if necessary.

If more than half of the votes support proportional representation, the electoral system will change and come into effect for any future provincial elections called on or after July 1, 2021.

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