IT MAY WELL BE that we will know the outcome of the American election before we know the results of the B.C. provincial election.
Over 700,000 mail in ballots were requested by voters. If even half the people who received the mail-in ballots (350,000) complete them, that would be 10 per cent of all the votes cast.
Mail-in ballot counting won’t start until 13 days after the election. Elections BC estimates the final count of mail-in ballots won’t be complete until Nov. 8 or 9. We may well know the results of the Nov. 3 U.S. elections before B.C. elections are known.
That’s assuming that there will be some tight races.
In general, in B.C., elections for most ridings are decided by a wide margin. Using probability, even with 10 per cent or more of the votes cast by mail, the pundits will be able to predict the winners of all but the closest races on Oct. 24.
For ridings with a wide margin of votes, the 80 per cent to 90 per cent of votes cast in advance polls and on election day will be enough to predict the results.
But there are always 15 or more close races. Last election, Fraser-Nicola was decided by fewer than 1,500 votes in favour of the BC Liberals. In Richmond-Queensbourgh, the difference was only 134 votes between the Liberals who won and the BC NDP who lost. The results of the advance polls will be crucial to predicting the results of the 15 or so ridings which have the closest races.
Whenever the votes are close in the advanced polls and on election day, the mail-in ballots will be crucial to deciding the end results.
In the end, what is most important is to vote. If you haven’t mailed in your ballot, you can take it to a district electoral office, or to the regular poll on Oct. 24.
There’s still time today to vote in the advance poll today, Oct. 21.
Or, if you’re a traditionalist, you can wait for election day to vote on Oct. 24.
All the votes count, and they count even more when the results between candidates are close. Every election, there are always a few ridings that are decided by a few votes. The people who choose not to vote sway the outcome as much as those who do vote. Getting out to vote gives the person or party you support that much more of a chance.
The U.S. election has overshadowed the B.C. election in many ways. But that is just one more reason to get out and vote in our elections. We will need strong leaders in B.C. no matter the results south of the border. Get out and vote: by mail, in advance, or on election day.
And we’ll know, one way or another by Nov. 9, who our next government is.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.