UPDATE: 10:30 p.m.
Renee Merrifield spoke to media from her doorstep shortly after being declared the winner of the Kelowna-Mission riding for the BC Liberal Party.
Merrifield says she’s “overwhelmed and humbled” at the amount of support that she’s received in this whirlwind election.
“Most of all, I feel optimistic,” she said on Saturday evening. “I really believe that we in the Okanagan need a sustainable future and an economic future and I’m going to advocate for that.”
As a BC NDP majority government is projected, Merrifield said she won’t be an MLA to just sit back and “twiddle her thumbs.”
“The role of opposition is to hold government to account; to be that voice that calls into question some of their actions, some of their decisions,” she said. “We have some major issues coming down the pipeline.”
UPDATE: 9:20 p.m.
Renee Merrifield of the BC Liberal Party has been elected as the new MLA in Kelowna-Mission, keeping the seat for the party. Merrifield won 1,168 out of 2,184 counted votes (53.48 per cent) with 30 of 114 polls reporting.
Krystal Smith of the NDP won 545 votes (24.95 per cent). Amanda Poon of the Green party won 471 votes (21.57 per cent).
As of 8:52 p.m., the NDP has won or is leading in 48 of 87 seats. The BC Liberal Party has won or is leading in 34, and the BC Green Party has won or is leading in three seats.
As of Oct. 23, 9,512 vote-by-mail packages had been issued to registered voters in the riding. There are a total of 50,150 registered voters in Kelowna-Mission.
Provincewide, 724,279 mail-in ballots have been sent out, and there are 3,485,858 registered voters.
The polls have closed for the 2020 B.C. election, but because of the number of mail-in ballots this year, the final vote tally will not be completed for some time.
Polls were open for general voting on Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Earlier, advance voting had been held from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21.
This year, there were three candidates on the ballot in the riding of Kelowna-Mission. They were Amanda Poon of the BC Green Party, Renee Merrifield of the BC Liberal Party and Krystal Smith of the BC NDP.
Since the 2009 election, the riding was represented by BC Liberal Steve Thomson who announced in December 2019 he would not be looking for re-election when the time came. In 2017, Thomson won the seat handily with 57.64 per cent of the vote, trouncing the second place BC NDP candidate who earned 21.03 per cent.
The riding was created in 1991, then called Okanagan West. The Social Credit party won it in the 1991 election but since 1996 the riding has been held by the BC Liberal Party.
After the polls have closed, Liberal candidate Renee Merrifield is in the leading in the Kelowna-Mission riding with more than 1,000 votes. The NDP is currently leading popular vote with 46 per cent.
According to Elections BC, the final vote count will begin on Friday, Nov. 6, when all absentee ballots are counted.
As of September 2020, there are 50,150 registered voters in the riding of Kelowna-Mission. Just under one-fifth, or 9,512 voters, had requested and received mail-in packages. A total of 11,354 voters turned up during advance voting.
Provincewide, there are 3,485,858 registered voters in British Columbia. Mail-in packages were issued to 724,279 voters.
Return day, when writs of election are returned to the Chief Electoral Officer, is scheduled for Nov. 16, but may be later if the final count takes longer.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com