Vancouver midterm election: results expected with new technology

For the first time, the independent agency managing the election in BC will use new technology for the Vancouver-Quilchena by-election, meaning the results could be in minutes after the polls close.

Andrew Watson, communications director for Elections BC, told CTV News after a voter marked his paper ballot that the ballot will be fed through an electronic tabulator and then put into a ballot box.

“The advantage of this is that we can report results much faster on election night and have a consistent count across the polling places for the election,” Watson said.

In previous provincial elections, the results came in about 45 minutes after polls closed, he added. That’s because officials would open each box and then count each vote. With the electronic tabulator, each vote is essentially counted as it comes in. When it’s time to publish the results, it’s a matter of getting the numbers.

Watson also explained that there is no way to determine the results until the vote is officially closed.

“At that time, the officials in the polling place will produce a so-called results tape showing the counts for all candidates for that polling place. And that information is requested from the district polling station and then published on the Elections BC website.”

The results will be preliminary. That is always the case on election night. In the past, absentee ballots still had to be counted and were part of the final result. Watson said one of the added benefits of the new technology is that the provisional ballots will be more complete because absent and submitted ballots will be included in the provisional bill.

The Vancouver-Quilchena seat became vacant when former Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson resigned after failing to bring the party to power in the last provincial election.

The candidates are:

  • Jeanette Ashe, BC NDP
  • Dallas Brodie, Conservative
  • Kevin Falcon, BC Liberal Party
  • Sandra Philosopher-Schipper, Libertarian
  • Wendy Hayko, BC Green Party

After voting a few days in advance, voters can vote in polling stations until 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.

All paper ballots will be counted as part of the final count on May 4.

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