2 B.C. ridings to get recounts following tight election race
Courtenay-Comox and Vancouver-False Creek will have ballots recounted during final count May 22-24
Two of the most hotly contested ridings in the recent B.C. election will hold recounts as part of the final count set to take place later this month.
Elections BC announced Saturday that district electoral officer recounts would take place in Vancouver-False Creek, where the Liberals lead by 560 votes, and Courtenay-Comox, where the NDP leads by just nine votes.
A change in the result in either riding could have a significant impact on the next government, with the Liberals clinging to a tenuous minority government with 43 of the 44 seats required to form a majority.
The NDP currently hold 41 seats and the Greens hold three.
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2 of 6 requests accepted
According to the B.C. Election Act, recount requests must be made by candidates within three days of the general voting day.
Elections BC says it received requests before the deadline from six candidates in five ridings: Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, Courtenay-Comox, Maple Ridge-Mission, Richmond-Queensborough and two from Vancouver-False Creek.
Only Liberal candidate Jim Benninger from Courtenay-Comox and BC Citizens First Party candidate Phillip James Ryan in Vancouver-False Creek had their requests approved.
The NDP candidate in Vancouver-False Creek, Morgane Oger, also requested a recount. BC Elections said Oger's request for a recount was initially not accepted as it did not meet the requirements.
Additional information related to the request was received by the deadline, but by then Ryan's request had already been accepted.
Courtenay-Comox has drawn much attention since the election due to the extremely close result and the high number of expected absentee ballots.
Vancouver-False Creek has also found itself in the spotlight due to the tight race between Liberal candidate and former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan and the NDP's Oger, who if elected, would be the first transgender person to be elected to public office in Canada.
When are recounts allowed?
The Election Act only allows recounts in three situations: if the margin of victory is fewer than 100 votes; if votes were not correctly accepted or rejected; or if a ballot account does not accurately record the number of votes.
Elections BC says candidates must include evidence of the latter in two situations in a recount request if that is why they're requesting one.
Elections BC did not immediately respond to requests for comment as to why the recount was approved in Vancouver-False Creek, where the margin of victory is greater than 100 votes.
Not over yet
The recounts will happen during the final count, which will happen between May 22 and 24.
This is also when about 176,000 absentee votes will be counted, which could also affect the final result.
But even after the final count, a judicial recount may still be required in Courtenay-Comox. An electoral officer must apply for a judicial recount if there is a tie or if the difference between the first two candidates is less the 1/500th of the total ballots considered.
Judicial recounts are handled by the Supreme Court of B.C. rather than Elections BC, and can also be applied for by candidates on the same grounds as district electoral officer recounts. Those requests must be made within six days of the announcement of the final results.
Until then, Christy Clark remains the premier and cabinet ministers retain their posts, even if they have lost their seat.