HST ballot counting and verification process explained

Don Main, communications planning officer for Elections BC, said when the ballots are confirmed they should be contained in a "certification" envelope that helps to verify voter information. He said as a second layer of verification, Elections BC will be calling voters from a random sampling of the certification envelopes to confirm they did vote and are eligible to do so.

The ballot package mailed out to eligible voters contained a "secrecy" envelope to ensure the anonymity of the vote, but Main said if some voters didn't use that envelope the ballot won't necessarily be invalid as long as that anonymity can be maintained. The ballots themselves will then be hand-counted.

"We hope to have a referendum result reported to the Speaker of the Legislature, and the public, sometime between Aug. 25 and the end of August," he said.

Main said Elections BC initially budgeted $12 million for the HST referendum, but the actual cost could be less depending on how many ballots are received.

Voters still have time to return their ballots before the deadline tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. Completed ballot packages can be dropped off at the Service BC Centre located at 1201 103 Avenue. Postmarks will not be accepted as proof of meeting the deadline.