NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020

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

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Quiet polling places on Saturday indicated more than just a surge in mail-in and early voting, as B.C.’s COVID-19 pandemic election yielded the second lowest overall voter turnout on record, at about 52 per cent of eligible voters.

Elections B.C. reports that there were 3.49 million registered voters in the province for the 2020 election, and preliminary results show 1.21 million cast ballots at polling places on Oct. 24. By election day, another 525,000 mail-in voting packages had been received, either by mail or dropped off, out of a record 724,279 packages requested by voters. An additional 85,000 people cast absentee ballots, indicating a turnout of 52.4 per cent.

Elections B.C. data going back to the 1928 election show only one lower turnout, the 2009 election that saw former premier Gordon Campbell win a third majority on a turnout of 51 per cent of eligible voters.

For the first time, more people voted in advance polls than on election day. Elections B.C. reported Oct. 26 that 670,324 votes were cast by people in their own districts before election day, and 546,877 turned out on Oct. 24.

Mail-in and absentee ballots have to be counted in a manual process in each constituency, checked against in-person voting lists to ensure no one is able to vote more than once. With ballots sent back to each electoral district, the final count begins Nov. 6 and could take another week or more, possibly shifting results in some of the closely contested constituencies.

Preliminary results give NDP leader John Horgan a 55-seat majority, with the B.C. Liberal opposition reduced from 44 seats to 29. The B.C. Greens won three seats based on preliminary totals, losing former leader Andrew Weaver’s Oak Bay-Gordon Head constituency to the NDP and picking up West Vancouver-Sea to Sky from the B.C. Liberals.

Preliminary results show the NDP winning 45 per cent of the vote province-wide, with the B.C. Liberals taking 35 per cent, about four per cent less than the 2017 vote that saw incumbent premier Christy Clark fall just short of a majority.

RELATED: Horgan awaits final count before resuming government

RELATED: Polling places see trickle of voters on B.C. election day

The voting map shows the B.C. Liberals dominant on the entire east side of the province, with the NDP holding most seats on the Lower Mainland and the rest of coastal region. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Horgan acknowledged that he has more work to do in the B.C. Interior.

“I’ve been tied in the legislature for big chunks of the year,” Horgan said. “I’ll be able to travel now more freely to other parts of the province … and be the spokesperson for the issues that we are bringing forward that will benefit rural British Columbia.”

One priority identified by Horgan is the forest industry, starting with a new minister to replace retired Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson. The NDP majority also has to deliver on its adoption of Indigenous rights legislation, as it focuses on the beginning of a liquefied natural gas export industry and other industrial development.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Axel Hasenky, owner of OP Office Products in Penticton, is fed up after his store was tagged by an unknown person Monday Nov. 23, 2020. (Jesse Day - Western News
Penticton business hit by ‘senseless’ vandalism

Business owner disheartened after store tagged

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

Penticton Law Courts
Bail hearing for Penticton man charged with sex assault, forcible confinement

Robert Sauve is facing more than 10 criminal charges

Peyton Burton-Otteson and Gia Han along with OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre mascot Otis have some fun practicing for last year’s 40th annual Share a Smile Telethon at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. (File photo)
OSNS smashes fundraising goal for 41st Share-a-Smile Telethon

The telethon and online auction raised a combined total of $81,000 to support local kids

Lake City Basketball’s inaugural female scholarship winner Megan Freeman with Lake City Director Chris Terris (Contributed).
Lake City Basketball’s top student-athletes awarded scholarships

Megan Freeman from Keremeos, Penticton’s Richter Heintz, and Summerland’s Jacob Mullin recognized

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Central Okanagan Public Schools administration office in Kelowna. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed in 5 more Central Okanagan schools

All people who tested positive for the virus are self isolating at home

Revelstoke RCMP warn of scam after two people targeted in one day. (Black Press file photo)
Revelstoke RCMP warn of scammer pulling at heart strings

Two people in Revelstoke targeted in one day by person posing as a loved one

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP investigate suspected arson at Shuswap hunting camp

Suspicious fire took place by Scotch Creek forest service road on Oct. 24

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

St. James Anglican Church, Armstrong, B.C. (Google Maps).
Prayer at North Okanagan council meetings a violation of religious neutrality: study

New study found 23 municipalities held prayer sessions at inaugural meetings in 2018, in violation of a Supreme Court decision

A worker at Kelowna Airport has tested positive for COVID-19. (File)
Kelowna airport worker tests positive for COVID-19

Individual, who works as a screener, was asked to self-isolate, at which time they tested positive

An assault charge has been filed after a 10-year-old boy was allegedly struck with a watermelon at a Shuswap campsite in August . (File photo)
Alberta woman facing assault charge after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Shuswap campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A Shuswap couple reported having fallen victim to a family emergency telephone scam. (File image)
Shuswap couple fall victim to family emergency scam

Person claiming to be couple’s son said he was injured and in jail

Most Read