Volunteer's pro-rep signs missing 

Referendum ballots must be received by Nov. 30

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - PRO PRO-REP Volunteer Erich Baumann was disappointed to see some of his proportional representation signs missing recently. B.C. voters have until Nov. 30 for their referendum ballots to be received.
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis
  • PRO PRO-REP Volunteer Erich Baumann was disappointed to see some of his proportional representation signs missing recently. B.C. voters have until Nov. 30 for their referendum ballots to be received.

Living in Abbotsford, Erich Baumann never really felt his political voice was being heard.

"I voted for 28 years in that community, and it's a safe riding ... I never elected anybody in 28 years," Baumann said with a laugh.

"It's frustrating, you know? That you just keep on voting and never get any say in the matter."

When a provincial referendum on electoral reform was announced—giving B.C. voters a choice between the current first-past-the-post system or three different proportional representation systems—Baumann saw a golden opportunity to make a permanent change.

The retiree (a longtime owner in Whistler and resident for the past two and a half years) signed up to volunteer with organizations like Dogwood and Fair Vote Canada BC to help spread the word about proportional representation.

Baumann even paid $30 for a permit to place proportional representation signs around town—which is why he was upset to see that several of the signs went missing recently.

Out of 40 signs, Baumann said he counted 10 missing, mostly around the Lorimer Road area.

"My first reaction was I was quite upset about it, because we went out there in the rain and weather putting those signs out, and then they just disappear ... and of course, I'm immediately a little suspicious of the no side," he said with a laugh.

"Would they go to that length, and actually remove our signs? I really don't know."

A Resort Municipality of Whistler spokesperson confirmed bylaw services did not remove the signs, nor has it received any complaints about the signs that would require action.

Regardless of who took the signs, Baumann remains undeterred.

"Most people I talk to and tell them about my experience and why I'm voting for this, they really get it," he said, adding that he hopes proportional representation would motivate more young people to get involved in politics.

"This is my hope: that we get a more vibrant community to participate in politics, on all levels of government," he said.

As of Nov. 20 at 8:30 a.m., 779,200 of mail-out ballots had been returned to Elections BC (but not necessarily processed), representing 24 per cent voter turnout.

In the Sea to Sky riding, 4,256 ballots had been screened, representing 10.5 per cent of all eligible voters.

Voting packages must be received by Elections BC by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 be counted.

Head to www.elections.bc.ca/referendum for more information on proposed voting systems or to request a voting package.

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