BC residents place bets on already won race

Image via thestar.com

Image via thestar.com

How an early call of election influenced the result

By Chandler Walter, Humour Editor

All throughout the red sweep of the Atlantic provinces, the declaration of a new prime minister, and the probability of a Liberal majority projected, polls in British Columbia remained open.

Canada separates into four and a half time zones. Usually, time zones never really seem to affect daily West Coast life all too much. That is, until the third Monday of October, every (at least) four years. It was due to this difference in time zones that BC voters found themselves with a new prime minister, with hours to spare in their opportunity to go out and vote.

As the Westernmost province with only 42 seats up for grabs, BC has never quite been a game changer in the race to Parliament. Most federal elections are decided long before polling stations in the west close their doors on Election Day, although this was the first federal election that British Columbians were able to watch full coverage, starting at 4 p.m. PST.

Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act states: “No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.”

The section would have ideally kept voters in later time zones from knowing the results of ridings that had already been decided. Natalie Babin Dufresne, the Assistant Director of External Relations at Elections Canada, said that this section of the act was repealed in 2014 due to its lack of practicality.

Dufresne said that the repeal “was based on recommendations by the chief electoral officer simply because it wasn’t really [feasible] in this age of modern communications.” However, with the section repealed, election results were free to be broadcast the moment St. John’s polls began closing, three hours before BC’s.

Some British Columbia voters, like Jackie Fekete, were aware that election results were being broadcast before BC’s polls were closed, though did not want it to influence their decision.

“I’d been trying to ignore it,” Fekete said, regarding the news that Justin Trudeau had been projected to be Canada’s next prime minister. Fekete had to wait until after class on Monday before going to cast her ballot, and by that time, the Liberals had all but secured a majority government.

“That’s why I didn’t want to look, I didn’t want to think, “Oh, I should change my vote based on what is happening,’” Fekete said, when asked if knowing the information would have swayed her towards voting Liberal.

Courtney Striker, a fourth-year political science and gender studies student at the University of Victoria, was working as a polling clerk in Victoria on October 19, so she opted to vote during the advance polls.

Polls closed in BC at 7 p.m., and, as stated on Elections Canada’s website: “The voting hours are staggered so that the majority of results are available at approximately the same time on election night.”

Striker said those who were in the building at 7 p.m. could still vote, and the last voters casting a ballot stayed as late as 7:15 p.m. Striker worries that prematurely called elections may contribute to BC voters feeling as if their vote is wasted, though notes, “It’s not at all a good reason to not vote, because it’s about exercising a democratic right that’s not afforded to so many populations around the world.”

“In the end,” Striker said, “if the numbers say that enough people feel like it’s an issue, then broadcasters should hold off on revealing counts until precisely 7 p.m.”

When asked if Elections Canada had any modernized plans underway to address this issue the way Section 329 did in the past, Dufresne said that that remains a legislative issue, and that Elections Canada is “here to implement the law as parliament wishes it.”

It appears it is in the hands of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to see if BC voters will be avoiding election “spoiler alerts” come next federal election.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

More Posts - Website

3,113 comments on “BC residents place bets on already won race
  1. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time
    and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending
    a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  2. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you
    an e-mail. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  3. I and also my friends appeared to be studying the best secrets
    and techniques located on your web page and all of a sudden I
    had a terrible suspicion I never thanked the blog owner for them.
    The young men are actually as a result happy to learn them and have extremely been tapping into those things.
    Appreciation for turning out to be considerably considerate and for finding some high-quality areas millions of individuals are really wanting to understand
    about. My very own sincere regret for not saying thanks to earlier.

  4. Hello! I understand this is kind of off-topic but I needed to ask.

    Does running a well-established website such as yours require a lot of work?
    I’m brand new to blogging however I do write in my journal daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal experience and feelings
    online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring blog owners.

    Thankyou!

  5. Outstanding post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?

    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit
    further. Bless you!

  6. Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.

    When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it
    has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, amazing blog!

  7. I’m curious to find out what blog system you’re utilizing?
    I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest blog and I would like to find
    something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*