A voter drops his ballot off at the Service BC office on Ironwood Street in Campbell River on Friday. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Still a few hours to vote in referendum on electoral reform, Campbell River

Ballots can be dropped off at Service BC office on Ironwood until 4:30 p.m.

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform, and a new poll suggests the results hinge on last-minute voters.

Campbell River residents have until 4:30 p.m. today to get their ballot to the box at the Service BC office on Ironwood Street if they haven’t submitted them already.

Voters continue to be evenly divided on which system should be used to determine future provincial elections, according to results from an Insights West poll released today.

“The closeness of this race and the timing of the ballot submissions means that the outcome is too close to call,” said president Steve Mossop.

The online survey asked nearly 1,000 voters in B.C. which of four systems they support: the current first past the post, mixed member proportional, rural-urban proportional or dual member proportional.

Fifty-two per cent of people who voted at the beginning of the voting window favoured the current system. But of those who most recently cast their ballot, 61 per cent want proportional representation.

About 40 per cent of all eligible ballots have been submitted so far, according to Elections BC’s latest update.

“As in many close elections, the final referendum results are clearly dependent on voter turnout,” Mossop said.

“The late-stage younger voters who prefer [proportional representation] are critical in this entire process — if they follow through and actually turn in their ballots, we could see this side win — but that is uncertain.”

Four in five respondents said they were “aware and familiar” with the referendum, with men slightly more likely to be so than women.

Voters are also aligning their preference of voting system with party support, the poll suggests.

About 75 per cent of people who voted for the BC New Democratic Party want proportional representation, as do 60 per cent of BC Green Party supporters.

Meanwhile, 74 per cent of BC Liberal Party voters prefer the current system, according to the poll.

Forty-four per cent of respondents chose mixed member proportional system as their first choice, while 41 per cent picked it as their second choice. A further 27 per cent preferred rural-urban proportional system, and 15 per cent opted for dual member proportional.

Elections BC says it will begin counting the ballots after the close of voting on Dec. 7 at 4:30 p.m., and results will take several weeks to tabulate.