John Rustad of the BC Liberal Party has been re-elected as MLA in Nechako Lakes, keeping the seat for the party. Rustad collected 1,744 out of 3,528 counted votes (49.43 per cent) with more than 40 of 83 polls reporting at 10 p.m, two hours after the polls closed tonight.
“This is not over until it’s over. I am happy to be in the lead, and hope the lead holds. I am pleased to have gained the support of the riding to be back representing the Nechako Lakes. Lots of work still needs to be done and I will continue with that work. My job will be to be working with the NDP government to represent the riding and that the Nechako Lakes priorities are not lost in the NDP agenda,” said Rustad in response to the news of his win.
Anne Marie Sam of the NDP won 1,201 votes (34.04 per cent). Jon Rempel of the Libertarian party won 209 votes (5.92 per cent). Margo Maley, an Independent, won 190 votes (5.39 per cent). Dan Stuart of the Christian Heritage Party of BC won 184 votes (5.22 per cent).
As of 9:32 p.m., The Canadian Press is projecting the BC NDP has won a majority government. The party has won or is leading in 54 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.
The numbers for the Nechako Lakes riding were low for the advance voting which opened across B.C. from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21
During the first day, the riding recorded just 424 cast ballots. For the next four days, the advance voting turnout was 297 on Oct. 16, 236 on Oct. 17, 89 on Oct. 18, 124 on Oct. 19, 211 on Oct. 20 and 158 on the last day of Advance voting. As per Elections BC the riding’s total advance poll turnout was at 1,539.
The riding has a total of 17,418 constituents. The 1,539 turnout equated to just an 8.83 per cent cast in the riding during advance voting.
Last week Elections BC said that they had received a total of 235, 800 returned vote-by-mail packages of the 725,000 packages that were requested. Only 1, 151 vote-by-mail packages were issued in the Nechako Lakes riding. Across B.C., a total of 497,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23.
According to Elections BC, voters had until Oct. 24 to return their packages. They also said that after the return deadline had passed, the estimated number of packages returned would differ from the number of ballots that will be considered during the final count of absentee ballots. This is because all vote-by-mail packages are screened for compliance with the Election Act before being accepted for counting.
Information on the number of mail-in votes to be considered at final count will be provided at a later date.
The province saw 681,055 people use advance polls out of 3,485,858 registered voters.
Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., when those mail-in ballots are counted.
– with files from Aman Parhar