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Voter turnout continues to drop, as NDP's Rice carries riding

A big surprise in the province, no surprise on Haida Gwaii. That sums up Election 2013, with a surprise Liberal majority government, and with a no-surprise NDP MLA for North Coast.Political newcomer Jennifer Rice won our North Coast riding, polling 3,688 votes by 10:00 pm, with the Liberal's Judy Fraser at 2,409 and Green candidate Hondo Arendt at 722. Ms Rice took an early lead as polling stations reported, and built on it as the results streamed in. Ms Rice was the only candidate unavailable for comment Tuesday evening by our 11:00 pm press deadline.Earlier, Liberal candidate Judy Fraser was not conceding defeat, but she did admit it looked like a win for Jennifer Rice."If that's the case, the people have spoken. I wish her the best and good luck," she told the Observer in a telephone interview just before 9:00 pm.Ms Fraser was in her campaign office surrounded by family, friends and campaign workers watching the results come in, all happy celebrating the provincial results."I am just excited to see what's happening provincially... I look forward to four years of a strong economy and a secure tomorrow."On Christy Clark, Ms Fraser said, "she is a remarkable leader, she ran a great campaign."Green Party candidate Hondo Arendt was happy with his numbers. He was at his home in Prince Rupert with a small crowd watching the results on TV and the internet, and our reporter could hear cheering in the background as he spoke.Mr. Arendt received just over 10 percent of the vote, a couple of points more than the eight he expected, hence the cheering.He spoke about the significant victory of the Greens electing their first-ever MLA, Andrew Weaver in Victoria, and he's very happy about that."I'm happy and I'm pleasantly surprised at the results overall," Mr. Arendt said.Of the Liberal victory, he is surprised, he did not see it coming, as every poll had the NDP leadingFinal results are as follows:Jennifer Rice NDP-4,341 (57%)Judy Fraser Liberal-2,540 (33%)Hondo Arendt Green-787 (10%07,668 people voted in North Coast, fewer than the 8,960 in 2009 and the 10,917 who voted in 2005.The Observer will publish a poll-by-poll breakdown of the votes as soon as they are available from Elections BC.