After a short campaign and a long election night, BC NDP candidate Roly Russell is leading in the polls in the Boundary-Similkameen riding.
The full results and official winner won’t be known until the final count including mail-in ballots begins Nov. 6.
Canadian Press called the riding for Russell with 2,935 out of 5,764 counted votes (50.92 per cent) out of 45 of 99 polls reporting.
Russell led against Arlyn Greig of Wexit BC, Darryl Seres of the B.C. Conservative Party, and Petra Veintimilla of the B.C. Liberal Party.
“I feel great so far, but I still feel pretty tentative given the number of mail-in-ballots that have yet to be counted,” said Russell. “I still feel hesitant, but the numbers so far look really good.”
This election saw four candidates compete for the position left open by retiring Liberal incumbent Linda Larson.
Petra Veintimilla of the B.C. Liberal Party won 1,967 votes (34.13 per cent). Darryl Seres of the B.C. Conservative party won 732 votes (12.70 per cent). Arlyn Greig of the Wexit BC party won 130 votes (2.26 per cent).
As of 10:27 p.m., with 70 of 98 boxes reporting, Russell lead with 4,884 votes or 49.73 per cent to Veintimilla’s 3,394 and 34.56 per percent.
By 10:30 p.m. the BC NDP was declared to have won a majority government, and Liberal leader Andrew Wilknson publicly acknowledged the NDP would form the next government. The party has won or is leading in 55 of 87 seats. The BC Liberal Party has won or is leading in 30, and the BC Green Party has won or is leading in three seats.
Earlier, Russell told Black Press that even if he was declared a victor, it would be some time before the mail-in ballots and early votes are counted and final results are tabulated.
“Going into this election day, we’ve known that by election night, we might not know the outcome. There’s a lot of uncertainty, as with everything in 2020, it seems.”
Mail-in ballots will be counted by hand, starting in 13 days.
Veintimilla did not respond for a request for comment on election night.
Seres felt confident that even with the results, he and the B.C. Conservative party are well-positioned for the future.
“I don’t feel this is the end. I think this is the beginning. I am encouraged and optimistic about the support that I received… There were a lot of people who were not pleased with the two-party option.”
In 2017, Larson received 9,513 votes, or 42.8 per cent support, while New Democratic Party candidate Colleen Ross received 7,275 votes, or 32.73 per cent of the vote. Independent Peter Entwistle received 3,165 votes, or 14.24 per cent support and Vonnie Lavers of the Green Party garnered 2,274 votes, or 10.23 per cent of ballots cast.
Voter turnout in the riding was 22,325, or 64.52 per cent. That was higher than the provincial average of 61.2 per cent.
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