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

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

Most Read