VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – As results continue to trickle in from a nail-biter U.S. presidential election in the U.S., British Columbians will need to wait at least a few more days for final results from the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Elections BC announced on Wednesday it would begin counting more than 662,000 mail-in ballots on Friday.
— Elections BC (@ElectionsBC) November 4, 2020
The final count is expected to take “at least” three days, the agency said in a press release.
“We are going to start reporting results on [Nov. 6] on our website, but it may take some time, given the extra steps necessary to process these types of ballots,” Elections BC spokesperson Andrew Watson said. “We are hopeful that we can complete the count within three days.”
He said the agency has hired more staff to count the mail-in and absentee ballots compared to previous years.
Starting Friday, Elections BC will begin updating the vote totals for candidates as they complete votes of different types of ballots – such as absentee ballots cast from outside voters’ ridings and those dropped of at electoral offices, Watson said.
The website will also be updated with current counts at the end of each day, he said.
Watson said the added steps in removing ballots from secrecy envelopes will make counting slower than on elections night, but he said Elections BC will “be publishing as much information as we can as counting progresses.”
After the BC NDP’s decisive victory secured a majority government for Premier John Horgan, several local races were still too close to call.
- In West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, the BC Green Party’s Jeremy Valeriote leads BC Liberal Jordan Sturdy by 604 votes, with 6,958 mail-in ballots to be counted.
- In Chilliwack Kent, the NDP’s Kelli Paddon leads former Liberal and current independent Laurie Throness by 195 votes, with 7,325 mail-in ballots to be counted.
- Liberal Stephanie Cadieux led her opponent NDP Pauline Greaves in Surrey Panorama by 1,217 votes with 11,231 mail-in ballots to be counted.
- In Vancouver-Langara Liberal Michael Lee is ahead of the NDP’s Tessica Truong by 647 votes, with 9,203 mail-in votes to be counted.
- In Langley East, New Democrat Megan Dykeman leads Liberal Margaret Kunst by 793 votes, with 10,637 mail-in ballots to be counted.
- In Abbotsford-Mission, Liberal Simon Gibson is only ahead of New Democrat Pam Alexis by 188 votes and there are still 7,285 mail-in ballots to be counted.
- In Vernon Monashee, the NDP’s Harwinder Sandhu trails Liberal Eric Foster by 180 votes, with 8,581 mail-in ballots uncounted.
- New Democrat Kelly Greene leads Liberal Matt Pitcairn by 596 votes in Richmond-Steveston, where 8,099 mail-in ballots are uncounted.
- In Richmond South Centre, the NDP’s Henry Yao leads Liberal Alexa Loo by 124 votes with 5,280 uncounted mail-in ballots.
Elections BC says the number of uncounted mail-in ballots does not necessarily reflect the exact number of ballots that will be counted.
“All certification envelopes must be screened before being accepted for counting to ensure legislated requirements are met, and to prevent multiple voting,” the agency said. “Certification envelopes that do not pass screening are set aside and not opened. During final count, certification envelopes that are found to contain no ballot or more than one marked ballot will also be set aside and not considered.”
Candidates and party representatives are allowed to be present while ballots are counted to ensure accuracy.
Elections BC says it will start updating voting results at 10 a.m. on Friday.