Nanaimo’s Tina Belliveau was holding her voter card like it was a golden ticket Tuesday.

“This is the once in a lifetime when we now officially have a say,” said Belliveau.

The Nanaimo resident says considering how close this byelection is, this kind of opportunity is just as rare.

“I’m almost 60 and I’ll tell you what, that’s a long time it has taken to get excited about something that I might make a difference in,” said Belliveau.

“Never in my life ever have I felt that I had a voice and that’s probably why I don’t vote.”

The Nanaimo resident hasn’t voted in over a decade. But this time she says she’s fired up.

“I’m voting and I just pray to God more people do it,” she said.

It’s voters like Belliveau that campaigns are now actively trying to bring on their side, with the battle for the legislature in play Wednesday. If the BC NDP loses the Nanaimo riding to the BC Liberals, it would upset the balance of power in the province and likely lead to a general election.

“I’ve never seen so much attention paid to a byelection,” said University of Victoria, Political Scientist Michael Prince.

“But that’s because the very future of government and a political party and a coalition hangs in the balance.”

A Liberal win would give the party 43 seats, tying it with the 43 seats held by the NDP and the Green Party. Those two parties signed an agreement in 2017, allowing the NDP to form a Nanaimo government.

All three main party leaders will be in Nanaimo Wednesday as the city’s voters decide B.C.’s future.

Skye Ryan