Barring an absolute landslide on Saturday, B.C. voters should not count on experiencing the election-night catharsis that comes with knowing who won and who lost.
It will vary riding by riding, as some margins will be wide enough to project sure winners, but the big picture could very well depend on the outcome in ridings that are too close to call.
The reason for this anticipated lack of closure is, of course, the number of mail-in votes. About 725,000 of B.C.’s almost 3.5 million registered voters had requested mail-in ballots as of Monday. Based on the 61.2 per cent turnout in 2017, those mail-in votes could exceed one-third of the total votes cast in this election.
That’s a lot of votes and they won’t be counted for two more weeks, which could further delay the swearing in of a new cabinet and the resumption of a fully functioning provincial government.
It didn’t have to be this way. Had the NDP stuck to its legislated election date in 2021, a new system was expected to be in place that would have tabulated the votes at high speed and avoided the time lapse we are now facing amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet another reason to write this off as one of the dumbest elections in B.C. history.