Elections BC has received 1,347 mail-in ballots for the Fraser-Nicola district, but counting these won’t begin until Nov. 6.
The elections agency released an Oct. 29 progress report stating that overall, 469,306 absentee and mail-in ballots had come in province-wide. In the swing riding of Fraser-Nicola, front-runner Jackie Tegart (BC Liberal Party) leads over BC NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza by 385 votes, which means mail-in and absentee ballots could determine the final outcome of the race in this riding.
With all 94 ballot boxes in Fraser-Nicola counted (11,113 ballots in total), the results of the intial count as of 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 25 stand at:
Dennis Adamson (Independent) 381 votes (3.43 per cent)
Mike Bhangu (Independent) 292 votes (2.63 per cent)
Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP) 4,318 votes (38.86 per cent)
Jackie Tegart (BC Liberal Party) 4,703 votes (42.32 per cent)
Jonah Timms (BC Green Party) 1,419 votes (12.77 per cent)
The Fraser-Nicola riding was created in 2009, when it was won by NDP candidate Harry Lali. In the 2013 election the riding switched to the Liberals, when first-time provincial candidate Jackie Tegart defeated Lali (by 614 votes). It was a feat she would repeat in 2017, once again defeating Lali (this time by 524 votes). However, that 2017 margin of victory was one of the six lowest in the province.
The fall 2020 election is like no other, largely because of the huge number of mail-in ballots that were requested. In the 2017 provincial election, only 6,500 mail-in votes were received. This year, because of fears around COVID-19, more British Columbians decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. A total of 724,279 mail-in ballots were requested from Elections BC, with 2,509 of those requests coming from Fraser-Nicola voters.
The counting of these mail-in ballots will not begin until Nov. 6, and Elections BC says that the count could take several days. It means that final results in many ridings may not be determined until more than two weeks after the Oct. 24 election date.
– with files from Barbara Roden
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