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BC NDP raises eyebrows with ‘seemingly official’ get-out-the-vote letter

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COVID-19 has made connecting with voters in B.C.’s provincial election more difficult than ever before, but one outreach tactic by the BC NDP is raising eyebrows.

Voters around B.C. have been receiving official-looking letters that some believe could be confused with correspondence from the non-partisan Elections BC.

The letters indicate that “records” show the voter has yet to cast their ballot, and encourages them to head to the polls.

Read more: B.C. election 2020: Find your riding and candidates

The letters are black and white and bear no party logo, just an insignia reading “BC Votes” and “Decision 2020.”

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Laurie Throness out as BC Liberal candidate

In fact, the letters were mailed out by the New Democrats, a fact only evidenced by the signature of NDP field director Jordan Reid at the bottom.

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“We’re trying to get a range of materials out there that ensure people can get out there and vote,” said BC NDP president Craig Keating.

Elections BC confirmed it did not mail out the letters, and told Global News they’re directing any voters with questions about the mailout to contact the NDP.

Prof. Gerald Baier, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, said he has concerns with parties mailing out “seemingly official” documents.

Read more: B.C. election 2020 promise tracker: What the major parties are pledging

“It’s not the kind of thing that parties should be doing,” he said.

“I think they should make sure to be very clear if it’s a partisan communication that’s coming from a political party, not just one little mention at the bottom of the letter as to where the source of this is.”

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The NDP told Global News the letters were mailed out based on information it got from Elections BC, and that it stands by its decision to send them.

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Keating said he remains hopeful it will help drive turnout in the election.

“This was an opportunity to reach people with something plainer and more direct, without the flashiness,” he said, “but still with the same message: that it’s so, so important to vote in this election.”

Advance polls in the election opened Thursday, while election day itself is Oct. 24.