A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Public may not know final results on evening of B.C. election

Uncertainty stems from high number of mail-in ballots

A spokesperson for Elections BC said it remains to be seen whether British Columbians will know on Oct. 24 who has won the provincial election.

“Certainly, it is possible that a complete picture of the result won’t be available until the mail-in ballots are counted, which will be later, as we just discussed,” said Andrew Watson, director of communications for Elections BC.

Watson said earlier that election officials had historically counted mail-in ballots some 13 days after the general election day following a screening period, with the actual counting taking two to three days.

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“Of course, there are many, many, many more this time, so those time periods may be extended,” said Watson. “But certainly, we will be trying to do that part of the process as fast as we can, while still maintaining the integrity of the process, and making sure that all of the legislative requirements are met.”

As of late Oct. 14, provincial officials had issued a record 697,768 mail-in ballots with 3,485,858 million voters on the registration rolls. By comparison, 6,517 people voted by mail in 2017. Watson had said earlier that Elections BC could issue up to 800,000 mail-in ballots by the Oct. 17 deadline for requesting one.

Other factors also come into play, said Watson. They include turnout on advance voting day, as well as general election day.

Traditionally, preliminary results on election night reflect 90 per cent of ballots cast, he said. “With over 700,000 mail-in ballots, that portion will be less. So it’s certainly possible that the final outcome won’t be clear until the mail-in ballots are counted.”


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

BC Votes 2020