The B.C. NDP appeared poised on Saturday to pad their majority government, as Elections B.C. continued its counting of the 660,000 mail-in and absentee ballots from last month’s provincial election.
The results on Oct. 24 gave the New Democrats 53 seats, the Liberals 27 and the Greens three, with several ridings determined too tight to call: Abbotsford-Mission, Chilliwack-Kent, Richmond-South Centre and Vernon-Monashee.
But on the second day of the final count, Abbotsford-Mission and Chilliwack-Kent appear to be pickups for the NDP.
Mission Mayor Pam Alexis has emerged victorious over Liberal incumbent Simon Gibson in Abbotsford-Mission, flipping what was once considered a safe Liberal seat. Gibson had been winning in the riding when the ballot count was finished on election night two weeks ago.
However, Alexis finished with 10,364 votes to Gibson’s 9,620, making history in the process: the B.C. NDP has never won in Abbotsford. Liberal candidates have been elected in Abbotsford-Mission with more than 50 per cent of the votes since the riding was created for the 2009 election.
In Chilliwack-Kent, Kelli Paddon has defeated controversial incumbent Laurie Throness, formerly of the B.C. Liberals. Paddon’s slender lead from election night has soared to more than a 1,300-vote cushion by Saturday, though counting of mail-in ballots continues.
Elsewhere, in the West Vancouver–Sea to Sky riding, B.C. Liberal candidate Jordan Sturdy pulled ahead of Jeremy Valeriote, the Green party member who was leading on election day. Following the final count, Sturdy’s margin of victory was a meagre 41 votes, triggering an automatic judicial recount.
The count will continue on Sunday. Elections B.C. spokesman Andrew Watson said the agency hopes to complete the count in all ridings that day, but conceded that may not be possible.
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