April 30, 2020

The BC Ecosocialist Party is calling for new election procedures to handle the uncertainties of conducting a provincial election during the pandemic.

“We do not know where we will be, with respect to Covid measures in 2021, when our next provincial general election is scheduled but," said Jenn Neilson, the party's chairperson. "More troublingly still, this government continues to govern with a one-seat majority and could fall at any time, due to floor crossing or MLA incapacity or death. And right now, the US is showing us how not to handle elections under these conditions with voter suppression through poll closures and inadequate social distancing measures.”

Secure Mail-In Balloting

“We need to make sure that we have a properly secured mail-in ballot system, similar to what was used in the referendum on proportional representation in 2018," Neilson continued. "The security and accountability of the voting system needs to be enhanced, and the election must be preceded by a robust enumeration effort. Our population is simply too mobile and insecurely housed to simply mail ballots to people at their last voting address or last address at which they registered a vehicle -- especially when so many young and retired people are choosing not to drive or simply cannot afford to. Since that enumeration work cannot be conducted door-to-door, it needs to begin now and use a variety of methods. Elections BC should also work cooperatively with other government agencies, such as Canada Post, BC Ferries, Canada Pension Plan and our colleges and universities."

Voters Need Access to Impartial Information

“We also have to recognize,” added Stuart Parker, the party’s regional organizing chair, “that our provincial media is mostly composed of three newspaper cartels, all with ties to the fossil fuel industry: Black Press Media, Glacier Media and Postmedia. Our province needs to circulate voter information booklets online and in print, and parties need to be able to communicate directly with voters. We also need to restore funding to the Knowledge Network so that it can function as a proper public broadcaster and information source, like TVO in Ontario. As long as CTV and CBC permit double-dipping by their ‘journalists’ and allow them to be employees of the fossil fuel industry concurrently, we are not going to see remotely objective TV reporting on the major issues in the coming election on our TVs.”

The BC Ecosocialists are also exploring the possibility of inviting election observers to monitor BC’s election for fairness and transparency, especially with respect to the fourth estate.