There are plenty of provincial election ballots left to count in the close Kamloops-North Thompson riding.
Electoral officer Sharon Lyons described the vote totals that are coming in daily as “mind boggling.”
She said there are an estimated 3,000 ballots to sort and verify for tabulation that have been received at the Tranquille Road electoral office to date — and more are on the way.
“I keep getting messages from Canada Post that they’ve got parcels,” Lyons said, noting 1,500 mail-in ballots were sent in on Thursday (Oct. 29) alone.
She said the hope is that all enveloped ballots are received within the next five days as they want to begin counting by Friday, Nov. 6.
More than 5,700 mail-in ballots were requested by voters in Kamloops-North Thompson, but it’s not clear how many of those will be received for the final count.
Incumbent B.C. Liberal MLA Peter Milobar holds a 791-vote lead over New Democrat Sadie Hunter from advance and general election day poll counts, with mail-in and absentee ballots left to count after a two-week verification process.
In addition to validating the votes, Lyons said they have ballots from other ridings in the Shuswap and Kamloops-South Thompson to sort through and ship to the correct electoral office.
In Kamloops-North Thompson, 177 polls reporting 16,600 ballots cast showed Milobar leader Hunter with 42 per cent of the vote (7,028 votes) compared to Hunter’s 37 per cent (6,237 votes). Green candidate Thomas Martin had 1,637 votes and Conservative Dennis Giesbrecht had 1,553 — both just under 10 per cent of the popular vote. Independent Brandon Russell had 125 votes.
Milobar told KTW on election night that conventional wisdom would suggest the results of mail-in ballots would mirror what came in on Oct. 24.
“I’m assuming that’s why the projection is the way it is, short of a monumental collapse of the rest of the percentages,” Milobar said.
He told KTW that, as of election day morning, Elections BC had updated campaigns that about 1,800 mail-in ballots had been received.
While Milobar is the projected winner, Thompson Rivers University political science professor Robert Hanlon told KTW the race could still be interesting.
“We know that, if we’re to believe polling, there was the suggestion that most of the mail-in voters were NDP voters, so there’s still some possible implications for that,” Hanlon said.