The 2017 B.C. election was one of the closest ever as the Liberals eked out a minority government with the Green Party holding the balance of power. But there’s a chance that could change if recounts overturn preliminary results in at least one riding.
In Courtenay-Comox, only nine votes separate the NDP’s Ronna-Rae Leonard and the BC Liberals’ Jim Benniger. If Benniger takes the lead in this riding, it would mean the difference between a minority government and a majority government as the BC Liberals would then hold 44 seats.
Due to this very small margin meeting the Elections BC criteria of a mandatory recount, the votes will be counted again in this riding once the absentee ballots are received. Final count normally begins at 9 a.m. on the 13th day after general voting day (or May 22nd).
According to Elections BC, a recount may only be requested “if the difference between the top two candidates is 100 votes or fewer, or if there is a belief that errors were made in the acceptance or rejection of ballots, or if the ballot account does not accurately record the number of votes for a candidate.”
A judicial recount will also be triggered if “a voter, candidate, candidate’s representative or District Electoral Officer… believe errors were made in the acceptance or rejection of certification envelopes or ballots, or if the ballot account is not correct. In the event of a tie vote, or if the difference between the first two candidates is less than 1/500 of the total ballots considered, the District Electoral Officer must make an application for a judicial recount.”
An application must be made within six days after the declaration of official results following the conclusion of final count.
Two other ridings in this election also came very close but do not trigger a mandatory recount.
In Maple Ridge-Mission, there was a difference of 120 votes between the NDP’s Bob D’Eith and incumbent BC Liberal Marc Dalton, with D’Eith currently ahead.
In the riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountian it was a close race as Joan Isaacs took that riding for the BC Liberals, bringing in more than 170 votes than the NDP’s Jodie Wickens.
So British Columbians will have to wait until at least May 22 to find out the final results of this election.