While all eyes have been on the Presidential election in the United States, Elections BC begins the final count today in BC’s provincial election. Although it is clear that the BC NDP will form a majority government, there are a number of seats that election watchers have their eyes on for a potential flip.
How likely is it that we will see any changes in the election day results once the final count is said and done?
Based on an analysis of the election day results and the number of certification envelopes received by Elections BC in each electoral district, the immediate conclusion is that four districts stand out from the crowd as obvious candidates to see a reversal of the election day results.
In the chart above, we show the 11 ridings where a swing of 15-points or less from the election day margin to the margin of the mail ballots is needed for the second-place candidate to pull into the lead.
There is a clear group of 4 ridings where a swing of under 4-points from the election day margin to the mail-ballot margin would flip the result. After that there is a drop off, and the next most likely flip requires an 11-point gap. This is not unthinkable – consider the massive gaps in election day ballots and advanced ballots we are seeing in the U.S. Presidential election right now.
However, for now, let’s focus on the 4 ridings most likely to flip.
Two are ridings held by the Liberals prior to the election and on election day, where the NDP has a chance to flip the riding based on the mail ballots: Vernon-Monashee and Abbotsford-Mission. Both were held by the Liberals by just 1% on election day, and would require the NDP to win the mail ballots by just over 2% to change the result.
Vernon-Monashee would be meaningful to the Horgan government. It would just be their second pick-up in the Interior or North (the other being Boundary-Similkameen), and, with a strong candidate in Harwinder Sandhu, would give John Horgan another opportunity to represent that part of the province in a new cabinet.
Abbotsford-Mission would represent another win for the NDP in the rapidly changing Fraser Valley, and their first in an Abbotsford riding – though it is fair to say that much of the NDP strength in this race will come from the portion of the riding in Mission, as the NDP having held the Maple Ridge-Mission riding this time around with an 18-point margin on election day.
The other two ridings liable to see their results reversed are also ridings held by the Liberals prior to the election, but in this case won narrowly by the NDP on election night.
In Richmond South Centre the NDP led by 1.5% in the initial count, and based on the number of certification envelopes received by Elections BC, this would mean the Liberals need to win the mail ballots by at least 2.3%. The result in this riding will determine whether the NDP controls 3 out of 4 of the historically Liberal strongholds in Richmond or splits these ridings with the Liberals 2 each.
The final riding to watch is Chilliwack-Kent, which faces an unusual situation. Laurie Throness was on the ballot as the Liberal candidate (and his votes are recorded as Liberal in the chart above) but he resigned from the party midway through the campaign. Nonetheless he finished a close second, just 1.3% behind the NDP. As such, he would only need a lead of 2.7% in the mail ballots (many cast before his resignation) to hold onto the seat and enter the legislature as an independent.
While the NDP’s government is not at stake, there are still key seats to watch as mail-in results are tabulated in the coming days.