Referendum ballots were mailed out in March and are due back to Elections BC by May 29.

Referendum ballots were mailed out in March and are due back to Elections BC by May 29.

Eight per cent of transit referendum ballots received

Early tally shows mail-in ballots now at Elections BC have come from only Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam

The number of transit tax referendum ballots that have been received and initially processed by Elections BC is up to 8.0 per cent as of today.

The nearly 125,000 tallied so far continue to be mainly from voters in Vancouver and Surrey – the initial cities Elections BC mailed out the ballots for what officials called efficiency reasons.

The return rate by municipality as of April 8 is 17.8 per cent in Vancouver, 12.2 per cent in Richmond, 8.1 per cent in Surrey and 5.3 per cent each in both Burnaby and Coquitlam.

Explore interactive charts below for detailed data by municipality

More ballots have arrived but aren’t yet included in the count, Elections BC spokesman Don Main said.

The ballots counted are ones in which Elections BC has opened the outer yellow return envelope and verified that the voter’s signature and birth date is on the next certification envelope.

Observers from both the Yes and No campaigns have said it’s not unexpected for many municipalities to show no results for the first few weekly counts until more ballots trickle in.

“Three or four weeks from today, we should have a much clearer picture of turnout,” said No campaigner Jordan Bateman. “These early returns grossly under-report voters outside Vancouver, simply because other communities received their ballots later.”

Metro voters are being asked to approve or reject an increase in the provincial sales tax in the region from 7.0 to 7.5 per cent in order to fund a $7.5 billion package of mainly transit upgrades over the next 10 years.

The planned upgrades include a Broadway subway, light rail in Surrey, a new Pattullo Bridge, new B-line express bus routes across the region and a 25 per cent general bus service lift.

Anyone who has not yet received a voting package can call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 or go to elections.bc.ca/ovr to request one by May 15.

Ballots returned so far | Create infographics

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