The B.C. Liberals extended their lead over the New Democrats in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows after Elections B.C. tallied the final votes.
Elections B.C. officials started counting 180,000 absentee ballots Monday, an unusually high number that could be enough to change the result of some closer contests from the May 14 provincial vote.
Final results will be known by Wednesday.
By Tuesday afternoon, in Maple Ridge-Mission, Liberal Marc Dalton had earned an extra 919 votes, bringing his total count to 10,327. NDP’s Mike Bocking got 798 more votes for a total of 8,830.
Alex Pope, who ran for the Green Party, got 1,818 up from 1,654 while Chad Thompson got 1,190, up from 1,075 after the May 14 initial count.
In Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, B.C. Liberal winner Doug Bing got 964 additional votes, bringing his total to 10,824. The NDP’s Elizabeth Rosenau drew 1,025 more votes (up from 9,179) for a total of 10,204.
Mike Patterson of the Green Party saw his tally increase by 225 for a total of 2,178 votes while Mike Pratas got 589.
A recount is also underway in the closest of the 85 constituency elections, Saanich North and the Islands. The NDP’s Gary Holman led after initial counting with 9,676 votes, 50 more than B.C. Liberal candidate Stephen Roberts. Adam Olsen of the B.C. Green Party was a close third with 9,294 votes.
Another closely watched constituency is Coquitlam-Maillardville, where B.C. Liberal Steve Kim led with 9,044 in preliminary results. The NDP’s Selena Robertson was 105 votes behind after early results in the final count, which includes absentee ballots.
Christy Clark has indicated she will wait until the final count is complete before deciding where to seek a seat in a by-election. The NDP’s David Eby finished 785 votes ahead of Clark in election-night returns for Vancouver-Point Grey, a result unlikely to be overturned by the addition of late ballots to the total.
Elections B.C. officials say the 180,000 absentee ballots doubles the number received in 2009. The final count include votes cast by people outside their home constituencies. It also incorporates mail-in votes and special polling places set up at hospitals, isolated communities and logging or fishing camps.
– with files from Tom Fletcher