Last HST ballots collected for count

The fate of B.C.'s harmonized sales tax should be known by the end of August.

Elections BC staff process HST ballots received from voters. Officials say turnout has been 'steady.'

Elections BC staff process HST ballots received from voters. Officials say turnout has been 'steady.'

VICTORIA – The fate of B.C.’s harmonized sales tax should be known by the end of August.

Elections BC officials briefed reporters Thursday on the final collection and counting of ballots for the HST referendum.

Acting chief electoral officer Craig James said the target is to release results by the original date of Aug. 25, despite a strike and lockout at Canada Post that delayed distribution. If there is a large return rate from the three million ballot packages that were mailed out, the results could take a few days longer, James said.

All mailed envelopes received at the Canada Post collection warehouse in Vancouver by the referendum deadline of 4:30 p.m. Friday will be accepted for counting by Elections BC.

HST ballots should not be mailed on the last day, but can be dropped off until the deadline at any of the 60 Service BC centres around the province, or at one of five collection centres at malls around Metro Vancouver. Locations are listed here.

Elections BC will have 70 people working in two shifts to verify and count the ballots. Each one will be checked against the voter’s list, and a random selection of 6,000 voters will be phoned to confirm that they sent in their ballots.

Elections BC plans to release the turnout for B.C.’s second-ever mail-in ballot next week, along with details of how many requests for replacement ballots were received. More than 14,000 people registered to vote so they could take part.

James said delays in getting through to the Elections BC call centre were caused mainly by the fact that as many as half the callers were phoning to share their opinions about the HST. The call centre was to handle requests for people who didn’t receive their ballot package or needed a replacement.

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

The George Massey Tunnel will be closed overnight May 28 and 29 to test the tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals. (Black Press Media file photo)
Overnight Massey Tunnel closures coming May 28, 29

Closure to allow safe testing of tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals

Missing Surrey man Bernard Grempel. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Surrey RCMP seeks help to find missing man

Bernard Grempel was reported missing on Sunday and hasn’t been seen since Friday

Members of Whalley Legion Junior Band at an event in the early 1980s. (Facebook photo)
SURREY NOW & THEN: When the city’s ‘official band’ marched with Whalley Legion title

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites, events and people

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

The province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory Tuesday

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Dr. Euiseok Kim is the medical director of the new Abbotsford post-COVID-19 recovery clinic. (Submitted)
Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic opens in Abbotsford

New facility following model of first clinic which opened in Surrey

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Two small dogs were also discovered by the officer, one had died, and the other was taken by animal control and sent for veterinary care with the BC SPCA. (File Photo)
Body discovered in parked van in Mission with 2 dogs, 1 dead

Remains in state of decomposure, surviving dog sent for veterinary care with BC SPCA

Most Read