Local Election Reform
Many BC municipalities suffer from declining voter turnout, the taint of big money influence on elections, a lack of neighbourhood accountability, and a host of other democratic challenges.
In the 2008 civic elections, municipalities across the province were plagued by numerous cases of electoral violations, unethical conduct and maladministration. Some of these cases resulted in police investigations, inquiries and legal challenges. Public confidence in the systems used to elect local governments in British Columbia was shaken.
In October 2009, Premier Gordon Campbell announced a new local government election task force to consider sweeping legislative changes to how municipal elections are conducted in this province.
In response, Think City, in co-operation with Fair Voting BC, surveyed 3,689 British Columbians between February 22 and April 12. Preliminary results were presented to Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver city council on March 25 and forwarded to the Vancouver Parks Board on March 26. On April 15, final survey results were tablulated and presented to the local government elections task force as part of Think City's April 15 submission.
Think City then sought input on the number one reform that citizens said they want the task force to address as part of its recommendations – local campaign finance reform. From May 11 to 21, Think City surveyed 1,025 British Columbians online on a range of donor contribution limits, public funding options and campaign spending caps and presented the results to the task force on May 26 in a second and final submission.
The task force submitted its final recommendations on modernizing local government election rules to the legislature on May 30 for implementation prior to the fall 2011 civic elections.