Compared to the ongoing U.S. presidential election this week, British Columbia’s recent provincial election was a sleepy affair. There wasn’t a single broadcaster in khakis frantically pointing at individual electoral districts on some sort of giant hi-tech touch screen for 36-hours straight.
But there is one thing both races have in common: record numbers of mail-in ballots.
As the world fixates on Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada south of the border, a huge chunk of B.C.’s provincial vote will also roll in this weekend. According to B.C. election law, ballots cannot be counted until 13 days after election day, which was Oct. 24.
“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 in a statement. “We are hopeful that we can complete the count within three days.”
Elections B.C. says it has received about 662,000 certification envelopes containing absentee or mail-in ballots from across the province. Those now have to be sorted, screened and counted. Only after the count will Elections B.C. be able to give a total of the number of mail-in votes.
While our neighbours south of the border are relying on these mail-in votes to determine who the president of the U.S. is, B.C. already has its premier. B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan won a commanding majority on election night without even including mail-in ballots, and will return to Victoria to govern.
That’s not saying British Columbians who voted by mail won’t count. There are a few key ridings that could shift depending on the mail-in vote. And while they may not carry the thrill of watching Arizona’s Maricopa county’s vote unfold south of the border, they’re still worth keeping an eye on.
West Vancouver-Sea to Sky: the B.C. Green Party’s Jeremy Valeriote leads B.C. Liberal Jordan Sturdy by 604 votes, with nearly 7,000 mail-in ballots to be counted. If Valeriote wins, he’ll be the first Green elected on the B.C. mainland.
Chilliwack-Kent: the NDP’s Kelli Paddon leads former Liberal and current independent Laurie Throness by 195 votes with over 7,000 mail-in ballots to be counted.
Surrey-Panorma: Liberal Stephanie Cadieux leads NDP candidate Pauline Greaves by 1,212 votes, with over 11,000 mail-in ballots to be counted.
Vancouver-Langara: Liberal Michael Lee leads the NDP’s Tessica Truong by 647 votes, with over 9,000 mail-in votes to be counted.
Langley East: NDP candidate Megan Dykeman leads Liberal Margaret Kunst by 793 votes, with over 10,000 mail-in ballots to be counted.
Abbotsford-Mission: Liberal Simon Gibson leads New Democrat Pam Alexis by 188 votes, with over 7,000 mail-in votes to be counted.
Vernon-Monashee: Liberal Eric Foster leads the NDP’s Harwinder Sandhu trails by 180 votes, with over 8,000 votes to be counted.
Richmond-Steveston: New Democrat Kelly Greene leads Liberal Matt Pitcairn by 596 voteswith around 8,000 mail-in votes to count.
Richmond South Centre: the NDP’s Henry Yao leads Liberal Alexa Loo by 124 votes with over 5,000 mail-in votes to count.
“We are hopeful that we can complete the count within three days.”
Elections B.C. will start uploading results at 10 a.m. PT on Friday. So if you want to take a break from watching U.S. vote totals roll in and legal challenges move forward, why don’t you follow along with the process closer to home.
Officials say the full results should be known within three days. Imagine that! An election where we know when we’ll know the results! A novel concept.