John Horgan’s decision to call a snap election during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have paid off as Global News is projecting the BC NDP to form a majority government.
The NDP is elected or leading in 54 ridings, according to Global News projections, ahead of the BC Liberals who are elected or leading in 30 ridings. The Greens are leading in three ridings.
Horgan called an election back on Sept. 21, saying the province needs a majority government to navigate the ongoing global crisis.
Horgan faced criticism from BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and newly minted BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau for sending voters to the polls amid the global pandemic and breaking the agreement he forged with the Greens in order to form government in 2017.
The Oct. 24 vote comes less than a week since provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared that B.C. is now in a second wave of the pandemic, with higher and higher numbers of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the last few days.
On Friday, Elections BC estimated that only about 65 to 70 per cent of votes will be counted that night, which could delay final results in close races.
About 478,900 vote-by-mail packages had been returned as of Friday morning, which represents about 66 per cent of all mail-in packages requested and issued to date, Elections BC said.
Advance votes will be counted on election day. Mail-in ballots will be counted 13 days after election day at the earliest as per provincial law.
There are nearly 3.5 million registered voters in B.C.
At dissolution back in September, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats, another two were independent, and one seat was vacant.
B.C. is the second province to head to the polls during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Brunswick re-elected the Progressive Conservatives last month after Premier Blaine Higgs called a snap election. Voters in Saskatchewan will go to the polls on Monday.
For the full election coverage, go to our B.C. Election 2020 page.
Global News’ special election broadcast will air live from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. PT on Global BC, BC1, AM980 CKNW radio, and free on the Global TV App, Amazon Prime Video or Global News YouTube Channel.
— With files from Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press
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