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

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Salvation Army file photo
Salvation Army kettle drive begins Nov. 28

Hamper demand has accelerated this year

9th avenue pole moved
Hydro pole removed on 9th Avenue

The first major snowfall of the year delayed the removal and relocation… Continue reading

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read