Do Early Election Results Influence BC Voters?

The CBC and the Globe and Mail both reported on the fact that networks had already declared a Liberal majority while polls were still open in the Pacific time zone.

In previous elections is was illegal to report election results before the polls had closed, in an effort to avoid this exact scenario. However, with the growth of social media it became impractical to try and enforce a provision that allows results to be reported in some time zones but not others, and the law was repealed before the 2015 election.

is it fair that election results can be reported while the polls are still open in most of British Columbia? The news reports touch on the relevant issues: some people still in line may not vote; it may cause a last minute rush to vote; and either way, it provides some BC voters with information that is not available to the rest of the country.

Practically speaking, the vast majority of voters have already cast their ballots without waiting until the last hour. With all the advanced voting opportunities available, I continue to be amazed at the number of people who wait until polling day to cast a ballot, especially those who wait until the final few hours. Given all the opportunities they have to cast a ballot before the election results start to be reported, maybe they have less of a valid complaint about it.

I find it hard to believe that there are many people who are waiting to see the early results before voting, or who would make a decision whether to vote or not depending on these results. Perhaps if people are stuck in a long line and know that the result is already determined there may be a temptation to give up, but if that is an issue surely the solution lies in more staff at polling stations in the west as opposed to re-enacting a ban on publishing the results.

What do you think about this? Is it a legitimate issue or just a tempest in a teapot by a few cranky British Columbians?

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