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

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Dear Sarah, the letter began. I hope you mail a note from… Continue reading

Bhagwan Mayer. (Photo submitted)
Organizer of transporting the World’s Largest Hockey Stick to Cowichan remembered

Bhagwan Mayer a “hard-working fellow who cared about his community.”

Paula Foot narrates a collection of stories to appeal to the imaginations of the young and young at heart with a new album​ ‘Moments with Miss Paula: Stories for Fall and Winter’. (Submitted)
New album of stories from Cowichan storyteller offers children a world of magic

The stories will appeal to six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds

The VIJHL's Kerry Park Islanders' games have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
Isles victorious before league shutdown

The Kerry Park Islanders were able to sneak in one last game… Continue reading

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read