Polls were open until 8 p.m. PT in Westside-Kelowna, where eight candidates are vying for a seat in the B.C. legislature — including Premier Christy Clark.
Clark is hoping to win the riding after losing her seat in Vancouver-Point Grey in the general election in May. As the leader of the governing party, Clark can hold the title of premier without a seat but she can’t enter the legislature.
Clark says she is optimistic about the day's outcome, as the central Okanagan region has a long history of electing premiers.
"W.A.C Bennett and Bill Bennett are both examples of premiers who managed to govern the province, to build the province, at the same time they put Kelowna on the map, and that is what I want to do," she said.
NDP candidate Carole Gordon believes voter turnout Wednesday will be strong.
"There has been a lot of media attention attached to this one. People on the west side, people in Kelowna know that there's an election happening and they are going to get out to vote."
Gordon hopes the voting public will choose a candidate, like herself, with much stronger ties to the region. Clark currently lives in Vancouver, where her son goes to school, but has promised to establish a second residence in the city.
That sentiment is shared by B.C. Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw.
"If I am elected, I will be a member of the Legislative Assembly to represent this area doing what is best for them," he said.
One candidate from the Vision Party and four other candidates, who are running as independents, are also on the ballot.
Former Liberal MLA Ben Stewart was elected in Westside-Kelowna by a wide margin in May, but he stepped down in June in order to give Clark a shot at the seat. He told CBC Radio One's Daybreak South he thought Clark might be better-suited to looking after his consituency.
Westside-Kelowna byelection candidates
- Jag Bhandari — B.C. Vision.
- Christy Clark — B.C. Liberal Party.
- Carole Gordon — B.C. NDP.
- John Marks — Independent.
- Silverado Brooks Socrates — Independent.
- Sean Upshaw — B.C. Conservative Party.
- Dayleen Van Ryswyk — Independent.
- Korry Zepik — Independent.