Transit ballots slow to return

So far, none reported from Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

In the transit referendum there has so far been few ballots processed from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

But Elections B.C. is expecting the mail-in plebiscite will reflect the local decision eventually.

Elections B.C. is reporting that it has received 54,000 out of 415,000 ballots sent to voters in the City of Vancouver, and 9,000 out of 294,000 from Surrey.

For the rest of the region, including Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, it reports having processed none.

It seems a small return out of 1.5 million voting packages that were mailed to eligible voters between March 16 and 27.

Elections B.C. sent 54,000 packages to Maple Ridge, and 13,000 to Pitt Meadows, each with a yellow postage-paid return envelope.

But Elections B.C. communications manager Don Main said the early results are not a reflection of the interest in the Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite.

“It’s early days, and people have until May 15 to get their voting packages, and voters have until May 29 to complete their ballots,” said Main.

The ballots must be received by May 29 – not postmarked.

“We send it to them, and it’s in their hands.”

The referendum question asks: “Do you support a new 0.5 per cent Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan? Yes or No.”

Main explained that the largest population centres received their ballots first, so people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will not have had their voting packages for long. The first ballots were returned from Vancouver voters and received by Elections B.C. on March 19.

Elections B.C. will also open nine offices in the Metro region on April 13, where voters will be able to drop off their ballots, or obtain packages. He declined to say where those offices will be at this time.

Voting results will not be counted until after the ballot return period ends on May 29.

• Those who have not yet received a voting package can ask for one at 1-800-661-8683 or before midnight on May 15.