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

Children wait using physical distancing after getting their pictures taken at picture day at St. Barnabas Catholic School during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Update: COVID-19 cases confirmed at more Kelowna schools

Interior Health announced a case has been confirmed at Chute Lake Elementary

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
Kelowna hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced the Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
No public attendance for Kelowna council meetings, public hearings

The new measures come as part of the new provincial order, released on Dec. 3

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster children

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

Most Read