NDP’s Ronna Rae Leonard now leads in riding by 13 votes with absentee ballots yet to be counted
This District Electoral Office holds all the ballots that will determine the outcome in Courtenay-Comox, a riding the NDP won by 9 votes.
All eyes are on the recount that’s happening here.
“In this case it’s such a close election race province wide that this could have a real impact on the future of the province,” says NDP Deputy Director Glen Sanford.
Before the doors open this morning scrutineers for the Liberals, NDP and Green parties gather in their respective groups to go over protocol. Each has scrutineers to watch each of the 15 counting stations.
“Everybody wants to make sure everything is checked and double checked and done right,” says Sanford. “So the final count reflects the actual desires of the voters.”
And you may wonder why the Green scrutineers are here when their candidate placed a distant third. The party says it wants to be involved in the democratic process but the outcome of this riding may well determine if the Greens hold the balance of power in the Legislature.
“Very interested. We worked very hard to have a good outcome,” says Dr. Betty Donaldson, Chair of the Green Party Recount Team. “Generally we’re very pleased with how the Greens have done and we hope to continue building our support base.”
Among the scrutineers for the Liberals is the region’s former MLA Don Mcrae. He resigned his seat but is still proving to be politically active.
“Politics are still important to the province and our community so I’m glad to be here and I want to know the answers,” says McRae.
And the only answer here today is not in the Liberals favour. Mid-afternoon the scrutineers start emerging from the recount and Elections BC announces the results.
“So on election night the gap between the top two candidates was nine votes and as a result of this recount today it is now 13 votes,” says Keith Archer, BC’s Chief Electoral Officer.
But that is before absentee votes.
Elections BC says they number slightly above 2,000 in the riding.
Following the announcement a smaller number of scrutineers re-entered the District Electoral Office to start preparing to count them. The count will start tomorrow and could be finalized Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how long it takes.
That result could well change the outcome of not just the riding, but whom may form government.