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

Ed Holden owns and operates The Christmas Store at Potters, located on 48th Avenue in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
‘B.C. Buy Local Week’ kicks off with urgent plea to holiday shoppers

‘Local businesses are just hanging on,’ says organizer of the week-long campaign

One man is dead after a shooting in Fleetwood Sunday evening. (Shane MacKichan photos)
UPDATE: Police ask for dash cam videos after 29-year-old man shot dead in Surrey

Incident took place near shopping complex at the corner of 152 Street and Fraser Highway

File photo
Man, 68, charged with arson, assault and threatening in Whalley summer fire

David Thind charged in connection with a house fire in the 13000-block of 112A Avenue on Aug. 28

(Delta Police Department photo)
Scam-savvy North Delta couple help would-be victims avoid Bitcoin fraud

Mike’s Convenience Store owners have stopped several folks from being scammed at their Bitcoin ATM

Swimmer Arianna Hunsicker outside the pool at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex. The Surrey Knights swim club member is aiming to compete at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey swimmer aims for Paralympic Games amid COVID-19 challenges at Fleetwood pool

Arianna Hunsicker and other Knights club members train at the only public pool open in Surrey

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

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

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)
Judge hears Langley development case that could end in mayor, councillors booted out of council

The conflict of interest case was launched by local voters a year ago

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Harbour seals rest on log booms at Flavelle Mill in Port Hardy. With recent announcements the mill will be getting rid of the log booms, Dr. David Rosen sees an opportunity to study how the disappearance of this highly-frequented refuge for the seals will alter their behaviour in Burrard Inlet. (Photo supplied by David Rosen)
What the heck is going on with marine mamals in Vancouver waterways?

UBC researcher asks why they’re returning, and what role we’re playing

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Former Pitt Meadows mayor John Becker at his former law office. (News files)
Former Pitt Meadows mayor suspended from practising law for 14 months

Statement from John Becker says anxiety and depression played role

Most Read