Reece Harman turned 18 on Oct. 14. Harman voted for the first time at Gordon Head middle school voting station on Saturday with mom Lynette. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Reece Harman turned 18 on Oct. 14. Harman voted for the first time at Gordon Head middle school voting station on Saturday with mom Lynette. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Early voting reduces election day turnout in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

An estimated 15,918 mail-in ballots requested in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

The number of election day voters at polling stations in Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding is down.

That’s because the number of advanced voters, about 8,000, and mail-in votes, about 15,000, are through the roof.

By 5 p.m., supervisory elections officer Karen Garland at the Gordon Head middle school voting station was confident in calling Oct. 24 the slowest election day by far that she’s seen in three elections.

“The mail-in and advanced votes have significantly reduced today’s numbers,” Garland said. “The good thing is we have a big space, lots of room and it’s been very safe here.”

Voting at the Oak Bay high station was busy enough to force a queue in the early afternoon, but only briefly, said supervisory officer Supratim Sen.

“At one point people had to wait 20 minutes,” Sen said. “Otherwise it’s been steady. I worked the advanced polling at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Oct. 15 and 16 and we had 1,400 people, so there’s really been a push to vote early.”

Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Gordon Head middle school voting station was slow and steady for the provincial election day, Oct. 24, 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Murray Rankin of the NDP is looking to make a seamless switch from federal to provincial politics and be the first NDP MLA in Oak Bay-Gordon Head since Elizabeth Cull from 1991 to 1996. Oak Bay-Gordon Head is considered a swing seat that the NDP will need to earn a majority vote after former BC Green party leader Andrew Weaver stepped down and declined to run again.

Rankin is up against Green party successor Nicole Duncan (Green), Roxanne Helme (Liberal) and Florian Castle (Communist). Learn more about these candidates here.

Early voting for the 2020 provincial election has broken records, according to data released by Elections BC Thursday (Oct. 22).

In Oak Bay-Gordon Head, 8,651 people cast advance ballots this year.

About 37.5 per cent of Oak Bay-Gordon Head voters requested mail-in ballots this year. That’s 15,918 out of 42,385 registered voters, almost twice the provincial average of 20.7 per cent per riding.

Oak Bay High voting station was slow and steady for the provincial election day, Oct. 24, 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

It’s the mail-in ballots that will likely delay any definitive results on election night of Oct. 24.

Only Victoria-Beacon Hill has such a high percentage of mail-in ballots, with 37 per cent, or 18,363 of the 48,772 registered voters. Saanich South has 34 per cent (41,697 of 14,230) and Victoria-Swan Lake 32 per cent, or 12,978 of 40,590.

The agency said 681,055 people cast their ballot during seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017. In 2013, there were 366,558 people who voted in advance and 290,220 in 2009, with fewer yet in earlier elections.

What voters are saying

Reece Harman voted at the Gordon Head voting station for the first time in his life, having had his 18th birthday only 10 days ago.

“I had a lot of fun doing the research of who to vote for, it felt nice to have a choice of what our province will be like in the future, and it felt good getting to know who would lead our province,” Harman said. “Economic stances, clean energy stances, were the two big ones, and also policing and mental health awareness, are what I was looking at.”

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6, when those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 15,918 mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within Oak Bay-Gordon Head. There are 42,385 registered voters in the riding.

Across B.C., a total of 724,279 mail-in ballots were returned to Elections BC, as of 11:59 p.m. Oct. 23. There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

Historical look at Oak Bay-Gordon Head

In the 2017 provincial election, Weaver captured Oak Bay-Gordon Head with 15,257 votes (52.17 per cent), followed by Liberal Alex Dutton with 6,952 (23.77 per cent), the NDP’s Bryce Casavant with 6,912 (23.63 per cent), Jin Dong Yang-Riley of the Vancouver Island Party with 67 and Xaanja Ganja Free of 4BC with 58.

A total of 29,246 people cast a ballot in Oak Bay-Gordon Head in 2017, giving it a turnout of 72 per cent, well above the provincial average of 61.2 per cent.

Seven ridings encompass Greater Victoria with a grand total of 27 candidates vying for your vote.

In Saanich North and the Islands, Zeb King, Adam Olsen, and Stephen Roberts are vying for your vote. Learn more about these candidates here.

In Saanich South, Kate O’Connor, Lana Popham and Rishi Sharma are on the ballot. Find the latest on Saanich South here.

In Victoria-Swan Lake, Rob Fleming (NDP), Annemieke Holthuis (Green), David Somerville (Liberal), Walt Parsons, and Jenn Smith round out the ballot. Find the latest on Victoria-Swan Lake here.

In the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding – which also includes Colwood – Mitzi Dean (NDP), Andy MacKinnon (Green), Desta McPherson, and RJ Senko are facing off. Find the latest on Esquimalt-Metchosin here.

Grace Lore (NDP), Jenn Neilson (Green), Karen Bill (Liberal) and Jordan Reichert are running in Victoria-Beacon Hill. Find the latest on Victoria-Beacon Hill here.

In the West Shore’s other riding, Langford-Juan de Fuca, Gord Baird, Kelly Darwin, John Horgan, and Tyson Riel Strandlund are vying for the vote. Find the latest on Langford-Juan de Fuca here.

For more election coverage, go to vicnews.com/tag/bc-votes-2020.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Elections BC estimates that roughly 35 per cent of voters used mail-in ballots, which will be counted beginning on Nov. 6. This means that tonight’s election results may change.

ALSO READ: Here’s what you need to know to vote


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

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