Most British Columbians Would Welcome Online Voting Option

More than three-in-five likely voters think Elections BC should consider this possibility before the next provincial ballot.

Vancouver, BC [October 12, 2020] – A sizeable proportion of likely voters in British Columbia would like to explore the option of participating in the democratic process through the internet, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 63% of likely voters in British Columbia think Elections BC—the non-partisan office of the legislature responsible for conducting provincial and local elections—should “definitely” or “probably” consider allowing voters to cast their ballots online in the next provincial election.

The possibility of online voting is backed by majorities of likely voters who supported the BC Green Party (54%), the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (60%) and the BC Liberals (70%) in the 2017 election.

Across the province, 43% of likely voters say they intend to vote in this year’s election by mail, up 14 points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in late September. In addition, 25% (-3) will cast a ballot in person on Election Day and 23% (-4) plan to do so during Advance Voting.

Practically one-in-five mail voters (19%) have already sent their ballot back to Elections BC. More than a third (35%) have requested a ballot but have not received it, 18% possess a ballot but have not voted yet, and 28% intend to request one.

More than nine-in-ten likely voters in British Columbia (93%, +3) express confidence in Elections BC being able to oversee the entire voting process this year. Confidence increased on Elections BC’s ability to ensure that there is no fraudulent activity with mailed ballots (87%, +5) and to enforce social distancing at polling stations (86%, +12).

When likely voters are asked what influences their choice in this election, more than two thirds (69%) mention party platforms. Slightly lower proportions of likely voters say discussions with family (52%) and friends (46%) are also persuasive.

Fewer than a third of likely voters in the province are swayed by interactions with candidates on social media (30%), endorsements from non-governmental organizations (also 30%), campaign ads on radio and television (29%), interactions with other people on social media (27%), or endorsements from unions (26%), trade associations (25%) and newspapers (23%).

This week’s televised debate will feature the leaders of the BC New Democratic Party (NDP), the BC Liberals and the BC Green Party. Fewer than half of likely voters believe other parties should be included in this debate.

While 41% of likely voters want to hear from the BC Conservative Party during the televised debate, fewer would extend an invitation to the BC Libertarian Party (35%), the Rural BC Party (22%), BC Vision (19%), the Christian Heritage Party (also 19%), the Communist Party (16%) and Wexit BC (also 16%).

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 5 to October 7, 2020, among 750 likely voters in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.6 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

Photo by James Wheeler

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.