B.C. wants teens signed up to vote

B.C.'s new chief electoral officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school.

B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer

VICTORIA – With participation in elections declining at every level, B.C.’s new chief electoral officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school.

Keith Archer released a report Monday suggesting the government consider that move, to get more young people registered and ready to vote when they turn 18. Currently the lowest level of participation is in the 18-to-25 age group, as well as the lowest number of registered voters.

“Our sense is that by introducing a provisional voter register, we’ll be able to communicate with young voters earlier on, and probably to do so as part of their high school social studies curriculum,” Archer said. “And partnering with with social studies curriculum developers provides us with a real opportunity to enhance civics education within that group, and to address generally the importance of voting in a democracy.”

Attorney General Shirley Bond said Monday she supports the idea in principle, especially after Saturday’s municipal elections where fewer than one in three eligible voters too place in many communities.

“We simply have to look at the elections that took place on the weekend,” Bond told reporters. “We need to make sure we look at how we get our participation numbers up, and what better place to start than young people.”

Archer is also recommending that the government explore options for electronic voting, which is being studied by Ontario and the federal agency, Elections Canada.

Municipal leaders endorsed the idea of online voting in local elections by a two-to-one margin at their annual convention in September. Archer said current B.C. election law does not allow for anything other than paper-based voting at the provincial level.

Bond said online voting was a commitment of Premier Christy Clark’s leadership campaign, and she intends to appoint an expert panel shortly to make recommendations.

“We have to make sure that it’s safe and secure, and people have been worried about that,” Bond said.

Just Posted

20th annual walk-a-thon held on May 26

St. John Hospital Auxiliary group is raising money to buy equipment for the hospital

Gallery — 2019 Madison Poker Ride

It’s been eight years since Madison Scott went missing from Hogsback Lake

Category 2 open fires are now prohibited across the Prince George Fire Centre

The first ban was set on May 8 that covered the Stuart Nechako and Prince George Forest District

Photo Gallery: Kids have a blast during the ‘Fun Run’ organized by David Hoy Elementary School

Elementary school students across school district 91 participated in the event

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Most Read