B.C. Liberal Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. (File photo)

B.C. Liberal Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. (File photo)

Final vote count confirms Rustad victory

This is his fifth electoral victory

The final count of Nechako Lakes riding ballots has confirmed that B.C. Liberal John Rustad will once again represent the riding for the B.C. Liberals in the provincial legislature.

Rustad was the presumptive victor election night Oct. 24 with more than 50 per cent of the votes but results were not considered official until Nov. 8 when the count of mail in ballots was completed.

The complete count gives Rustad 4,611 votes, or 52.24 of those cast, compared to his next closest challenger, B.C. NDP candidate Anne Marie Sam who received 3,031 votes or 34.34 per cent of the total.

Dan Stuart of the Christian Heritage Party received 413 votes or 4.68 per cent of the total, Libertarian Jon Rempel received 403 votes or 4,57 per cent of the total while Independent Margo Maley received 368 votes or 4.17 per cent of the total.

Rustad’s victory is his fifth since his first electoral win in 2005.

Of 17,418 registered voters in the riding, only 8,826 cast ballots, making for a turnout of 50.67 per cent. The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a demand for mail in ballots and in the Nechako Lakes riding, 1151 mail in ballot packages were requested.

The final provincial count also saw the B.C. NDP increase its seat count by two to 57 compared to election night Oct. 24 with the B.C. Liberals now standing at 28 and the B.C. Green Party at two.

One riding, West Vancouver-Seat to Sky, is still hanging in the balance with a judicial recount now to take place because of the closeness of the vote. The Green candidate was in the lead election night but the final count saw the B.C. Liberal candidate pull in front.