(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

Significant leads led media to call the B.C. election early, expert says

Nearly half a million mail-in ballots are still to be counted

When the B.C. election began to be called less than an hour after polls closed on Saturday (Oct. 24), some voters were flummoxed. Those who voted by mail wondered if perhaps their vote was meaningless.

But according to the director of academic products at Canadian STEM research and education centre Maplesoft, there’s a science to it.

“You don’t always have all the votes in when you make those calls,” said Karishma Punwani. About 1.82 million people cast a ballot in this fall’s election out of a total of 3.49 million registered voters. Of those, 546,877 cast a ballot on Election Day and another 670,324 voted in advanced polls – and those are the votes available to be counted on Saturday night.

Another 525,000 mail-in ballots and 85,000 absentee ones will be counted no sooner than 13 days after Oct. 24, as per legislation. The final vote count is scheduled to begin Nov. 6, with the election writ to be returned on Nov. 16.

However, that’s not likely to change much about the projected BC NDP majority.

“There’s only 10-12 ridings where it’s a close call,” Punwani said. Those ridings include Abbotsford-Mission, Chilliwack-Kent, Richmond South Centre and Vernon-Monashee, some of them separated by barely one per cent.

“In many of the other ridings there was a significant lead… over the other party,” she added.

As for the 525,000 mail-in ballots, Punwani said they shouldn’t be concerned – at the end of the day, those votes will be counted and could still change the winning candidate.

“But something to keep in mind is it might swing to the Green Party, it might swing to to the Liberals but it might swing further to the NDP,” she noted.

Current preliminary results have the NDP with 55 seats, the Liberals with 29 and the Greens with three. To win a majority, a party must get at least 44 seats.

READ MORE: Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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