B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

Mail-in ballots could shift outcomes in tight B.C. election contests

Final count begins Friday for 662,000 votes province-wide

With the majority of votes counted on election night, the NDP majority isn’t in doubt as Elections B.C. staff around the province dig into a mountain of mail-in and absentee ballots that have been sent back to each of 87 constituencies.

There were a record 662,236 mail-in and absentee ballots cast in the Oct. 24 election, but overall turnout in the COVID-19 restricted and unscheduled vote was just over 52 per cent, the second lowest voter participation on record for B.C.

Election-day and advance poll votes for the 2020 vote leave NDP leader John Horgan with 55 seats, a significant jump from the 2017 result that saw the NDP and three B.C. Green MLAs form a minority government with a two-seat margin over the B.C. Liberals. The NDP’s 14-seat gain was all at the expense of the B.C. Liberals under leader Andrew Wilkinson, with the B.C. Greens apparently holding three seats despite the loss of former leader Andrew Weaver’s Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat to the NDP.

One of the closest results is Vernon-Monashee, where the NDP’s Harwinder Sandhu has 6,618 votes, close behind incumbent B.C. Liberal Eric Foster’s 6,801. There are 8,581 mail-in and absentee ballots still to come there.

In Skeena, B.C. Liberal incumbent Ellis Ross has about a 900-vote lead over B.C. NDP challenger Nicole Hallbauer, with 1,345 votes still to be counted. Rural seats generally saw fewer mail-in ballots than urban ones.

One of the highest mail-in totals is in Parksville-Qualicum, which has 13,306 ballots still to come. B.C. Liberal incumbent Michelle Stilwell is about 1,000 votes behind the NDP’s Adam Walker, in a traditional B.C. Liberal seat that saw nearly 1,000 votes go to Conservative candidate Don Purdey in the election-night count.

B.C. Green Party supporters will be watching closely as almost 7,000 mail-in and absentee ballots are counted in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, where Green candidate Jeremy Valeriote has a 600-vote lead on B.C. Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy, a two-term MLA. Valeriote would be the first Green MLA elected on the B.C. mainland.

Green leader Sonia Furstenau finished about 1,100 votes ahead of the NDP’s Rob Douglas in Cowichan Valley, after a scramble to nominate candidates and produce a platform for an election called a week after Furstenau was elected leader. Furstenau received 8,631 votes on election night, and there are 10,425 mail-in and absentee ballots still to be considered.

With incumbent Green Adam Olsen holding a two-to-one lead over the NDP’s Zeb King in Saanich North and the Islands, the B.C. Greens need one more seat confirmed to retain official party status in the B.C. legislature.

RELATED: No COVID-19 exposures found from B.C. election

RELATED: NDP’s promised pandemic payments have to wait

Election-night results show both Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent switching from long-time B.C. Liberal seats to the NDP. Incumbent Laurie Throness is 195 votes behind the NDP’s Kelli Paddon in Chilliwack Kent, after Throness resigned from the party during the campaign over his criticism of the NDP’s promise to provide free birth control.

In Chilliwack, the NDP’s Dan Coulter has already been congratulated by B.C. Liberal incumbent John Martin after Coulter’s election night count was more than 1,000 ahead of Martin’s. There are 5,058 mail-in and absentee ballots still to be counted in Chilliwack, in addition 11,920 votes counted on election night, and 7,325 in Chilliwack-Kent to add to the 15,613 that were counted on Oct. 24.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack mine, 65 km north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack Mine, 65 kilometres north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health reports 20 more COVID-19 cases in outbreak at Brucejack Mine

So far, 42 people have tested positive, nine cases are active and self-isolating onsite

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read