UPDATED: NDP back in the lead in Courtenay-Comox riding, counting continues

UPDATED: NDP back in the lead in Courtenay-Comox riding, counting continues

The B.C. NDP are once again in the lead in the Courtenay-Comox riding as counting of absentee ballots continues Wednesday.

As absentee ballots are counted across the province, Elections BC has updated its website with the current numbers.

As of 5:44 p.m., NDP’s Ronna-Rae Leonard had a 101-lead in Courtenay-Comox with 10,481 votes compared to Jim Benninger’s 10,380.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Benninger was ahead of Leonard by 3 votes. Leonard had a 12-vote lead Tuesday morning after a review of one vote following a recount.

READ MORE:  Recount in Courtenay-Comox riding sees NDP increase lead

The NDP originally won the riding by nine votes. More absentee ballots will be counted Wednesday.

If the Liberals won the riding, they would have the 44 seats needed for a majority government, barring any other riding changes.

Andrew Watson with Elections B.C. said the district officer has to request a judicial recount if there is a tie between the top two candidates or if the difference between the top two candidates is less than 1/500 of the total ballots.

That’s a margin of around 55 ballots in Courtenay-Comox.

“In 2013, we had one judicial recount in Coquitlam-Maillardville and in that case, the difference between the top two candidates was 35 votes, ” Watson said.

Judicial recounts are conducted by a B.C. Supreme Court judge. Applications for the recount have to be submitted within six days of the release of the final election results. 

Michael Prince, Lansdowne professor of social policy at UVic, said for a riding to determine the fate of the government is pretty rare. 

“Whether we’re going to see a majority government or a minority government, this is unprecedented in Canadian politics.”

Across the province, the Liberals’ lead over the NDP has dropped to 2,612 votes, or 0.13 per cent of the ballots.

The Liberals currently have 43 seats compared to the NDP’s 41. The Green Party holds the balance of power in a minority government with their three seats. The final results for Courtenay-Comox are expected to be announced tomorrow.

The final count has been completed in 52 of B.C.’s 87 ridings. 

Ronna-Rae Leonard and Jim Benninger.

Follow CHEK News throughout the afternoon for updates on this story.  

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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