COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – The Comox Valley is tied for the provincial lead when it comes to returning referendum packages on electoral reform.

British Columbia is having a referendum on what voting system should be used for provincial elections and as of Wednesday morning, 14.9 percent of Courtenay-Comox residents have filled out and returned ballots to Elections BC.

This equals out to 6,636 of 44,501 registered voters in Courtenay and Comox.

The two combined communities tied with Boundary-Similkameen (also 14.9 percent) for the most ballots returned among B.C.’s electoral districts.

Kamloops-South Thompson is just behind at 14.6 percent.

The average return across B.C. is 6.5 percent thus far.

Other Vancouver Island communities are above the average.

They include:

Parksville-Qualicum – 13.7 percent

North Island – 11.9 percent

Nanaimo-North Cowichan – 11.5 percent

Cowichan Valley – 10.4 percent

Powell River-Sunshine Coast – 10.2 percent

Saanich North and the Islands – 4.3 percent

Fair Vote group advocates for proportional representation

A Comox Valley group that has been strongly advocating for proportional representation has been urging residents to fill out their ballots.

Fair Vote Comox Valley is a chapter of Fair Vote Canada BC.  It is a part of this grassroots, citizen-led movement for proportional representation in B.C. and opposes the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system that is already in place.

For more on what we’re voting for, click here.

Fair Vote Comox Valley chair Barbara Berger said the group started promoting their cause back in February and canvassed more than 4,000 homes in the valley leading up to the referendum.

“We’ve been having a lot of presentations as well as information sessions, but as we’ve been going along, there’s been more and more people joining and getting out and canvassing and doing their own thing,” Berger said. “Individuals handing out leaflets, tabling, (and) having a real presence in the community.”

Berger said because the Comox Valley is so politically active to begin with, there are a lot of people who are supportive of the group’s initiative.

She backs proportional representation because she believes the voter’s voice is heard and represented more fairly.

“Very few votes can turn the tide and make decisions that give a party that earns the minority of the votes a majority of the seats and all of the power,” Berger said. “And that’s not representative of the way people voted. And that’s fundamental and people understand that.”