PIN mailing delay hits B.C. Liberal race

Access code numbers mailed out to B.C. Liberal members hadn't arrived in parts of B.C. by Friday, forcing the party to try reaching thousands of members by phone so they can participate in their first-ever electronic leadership vote Saturday.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said it would be a 'cruel irony' if rural party members won a greater say in Saturday's leadership vote

Access code numbers mailed out to B.C. Liberal members hadn’t arrived in parts of B.C. by Friday, forcing the party to try reaching thousands of members by phone so they can participate in their first-ever electronic leadership vote Saturday.

Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon went public with the problem Thursday afternoon, saying the party may not have allowed enough time for Canada Post to deliver personal identification (PIN) numbers to rural and northern areas of the province.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett reported on his Twitter account Friday morning that most B.C. Liberal members in the Kootenays hadn’t received their PIN numbers, and the party’s toll-free phone line was overloaded.

The party helpline number is 1-888-281-8683.

Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm checked with Canada Post in Fort St. John and found that mail had not arrived there for carrier delivery on Friday. The party needs to “staff up and make sure northern and rural members can get new PINs by telephone if necessary,” Pimm said.Voting takes place only by phone or website between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, with the results scheduled to be released by 6:30 p.m. Saturday at an event at the new Vancouver convention centre.Bennett, who pushed for the weighted voting system that gives all constituencies the same voting power regardless of membership size, said it would be “cruel irony” if technical problems denied rural party members their vote.Leadership candidates signed up about 50,000 new members between them, and the party had to verify their eligibility before issuing the PIN numbers. Nearly 90,000 members are eligible to vote.Results and reactions to the vote will be posted to BCLocalNews.com and member publications on Saturday evening.

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