Outcome of B.C. election won’t shift much with mail-in ballots: expert

Outcome of B.C. election won't shift much with mail-in ballots: expert
WatchWith more than 720,000 vote-by-mail packages requested, many are saying it's still too early to call the election, but experts say the huge win for the B.C. NDP probably won't take a hit. Julian Kolsut has the details.

Even though more than half-a-million vote by mail packages still have to be counted, experts say the strong NDP majority likely won’t shift.

“There are 87 ridings. They are dispersed and they would have to be very different than the current flow of election results to change the ridings,” said Camosun Political Science Instructor Daniel Reeve.

“That’s why it has to be a really close race, like 200 votes or less, to really be a place where we have to say we have to wait for mail-in ballots.”

There are few ridings are that close, such as Abbotsford-Mission, Chilliwack-Kent and Vernon-Monashee.

On Vancouver Island, Parksville-Qualicum is a tight Island riding. On election night, NDP Adam Walker was named the projected winner in Parksville-Qualicum by media outlets.

The BC NDP are at 7,308 votes in the riding, totalling 39.78 per cent while the BC Liberal Party are just behind with 6,366 votes, totalling 34.65 per cent.

There were over 14,000 mail-in ballots issued in the riding, but Reeves says a flip away from the NDP is still unlikely.

“Even if 10,000 of those 14,000, which I think is a little high, of those thousands vote in a mail-in, the Liberals would have to probably pull higher than 50 per cent, and the NDP would have to pull under their 40 per cent, which is their average for that riding, for it even to be close.”

He says even if all the close seats went to the Liberals, the question now is not if premier-elect John Horgan has his majority, but by how many seats.

The results by mail could take three weeks or longer

A day before the election, 724,279 packages were issued in the province, and almost half a million returned.

Thirteen days after the election, the ballots should reach district electoral offices to be counted.

By Nov. 9, the province should have all the results and at that point, candidates have six days to request a recount.

“With those unprecedented volumes, those timelines could be extended,” said Andrew Watson, communications director with Elections BC.

“We have to make sure we keep those important integrity checks and that they are screened properly.”

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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