UPDATE: 10:00 p.m.
Ben Stewart of the BC Liberal Party has been re-elected as MLA in Kelowna West. Stewart won 2,737 out of 5,856 counted votes (46.74 per cent) with 67 of 113 polls reporting.
Spring Hawes of the NDP won 1,843 votes (31.47 per cent). Peter Truch of the Green party won 978 votes (16.70 per cent). Matt Badura of the Libertarian party won 162 votes (2.77 per cent). Magee Mitchell, an Independent, won 136 votes (2.32 per cent).
As of 9:41 p.m., The Canadian Press is projecting the BC NDP has won a majority government. The party has won or is leading in 53 of 87 seats. The BC Liberal Party has won or is leading in 31, and the BC Green Party has won or is leading in three seats.
As of Oct. 23, 8,968 vote-by-mail packages had been issued to registered voters in the riding. There are a total of 46,852 registered voters in Kelowna West.
Provincewide, 724,279 mail-in ballots have been sent out, and there are 3,485,858 registered voters.
Mail-in ballots will be counted by hand, starting in 13 days.
The 2020 provincial election is over, 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 five candidates on the ballot in the riding of Kelowna-West. They were Matt Badura of the BC Libertarian Party, Spring Hawes of the BC NDP, Magee Mitchell, Independent, Ben Stewart of the BC Liberal Party, and Peter Truch of the BC Green Party.
In 2017, Ben Stewart won a byelection in Kelowna West, the seat held by former B.C. Premier Christy Clark. He ended the night with 56.46 per cent of the vote. When all votes were counted, Stewart had 7,692 to second place finisher Shelley Cook of the NDP, who garnered 3,197 votes, 23.47 per cent of the vote.
After the polls have closed, Liberal candidate Ben Stewart is in the leading in the Kelowna-West riding. The NDP is currently leading popular vote with 45.75 per cent.
NDP: Spring Hawes
Despite not taking the riding, NDP candidate Spring Hawes says her campaign was a positive one, and she enjoyed it.
“I think we did amazing, we have a small group of very dedicated people, and we worked really hard… I’m actually really proud of what we did, I think we made a difference in the ratio, and I’m pretty happy.”
Asked if she expected the NDP to take a majority government, Hawes said she never expects anything to happen.
“A couple elections ago everybody was sure the NDP would win, and they didn’t win… I no longer expect anything.”
She looks forward to watching the NDP work over the next four years.
“I just think we’re going to keep on building, we’re going to keep on investing in healthcare, and education, and the things that we need to do around here will happen, with an NDP government.”
Independent: Magee Mitchell
“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” he said.
“It was a fun experience and I got to connect with lots of people. For an independent with a small financial budget, I did okay. I got the message I wanted out to whoever I could. I got some good positive feedback.
I just want to see bit more community engagement. I think our political system needs that, a bit more where we get more people involved (sic).”
Mitchell said he is spending election night with his family, monitoring the results on television.
Green: Peter Truch
Sitting at home with family, watching the results come in on TV, Peter Truch was feeling positive.
“I think if you look across the province at the results coming up on the TV right now, it’s really showing strides for the Greens across the province. In Kelowna-West in particular, I think you’re seeing a real fight. I think we finally managed to connect with voters about the things that matter most and if you look at the percentages at this point in time, it’s starting to reflect what we were hearing while door knocking.
With the NDP winning a majority, Truch hopes to see Horgan include the other parties more going forward.
“I think it is unfortunately the result that Horgan was looking for. He took the election and broke his own laws that he created to get in. So, unfortunately, I think all of us in this room (Green Party Watch Party) feel that it was a power grab that he has now capitalized on and I hope that the NDP works with everyone else in the legislature and don’t run away as particular majority governments do.”
According to Elections BC, the final vote count will begin on Friday, Nov. 6, when all absentee ballots are counted.
There are 53,008 registered voters in the riding of Kelowna-West. Around 11,013 voters participated in 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.
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