BC NDP candidate Mitzi Dean took an early lead in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

BC NDP candidate Mitzi Dean took an early lead in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Mitzi Dean declared in Esquimalt-Metchosin riding

An estimated 12,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding

The BC NDP’s Mitzi Dean recaptured her seat in Esquimalt-Metchosin on a night where the party achieved the majority it was seeking.

With all live polls and advanced votes counted, Dean received 8,279 of 14,568 valid votes counted. Metchosin Coun. Andy MacKinnon, running provincially for the Green Party, was well back with 3,816 votes, followed by RJ Senko (Liberal) with 2,276 and Desta McPherson (Independent) with 197.

After the numbers were confirmed by Elections BC, Dean told Black Press Media she was humbled by the result and proud of the work done in her riding.

“I want to serve another term because we’ve made so much progress,” she said, listing primary care centres, affordable housing projects and the South Island Transportation Strategy as ongoing regional projects.

BC NDP candidate Mitzi Dean watches from home as the votes are tallied on election night. Dean has taken an early lead in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding. (Courtesy of Lawrence Herzog)

“Now … we can deliver so much more in all the communities,” Dean said. “During the pandemic, we want to be making sure people are protected in terms of eviction and rent and supported in terms of their income, because affordability is critical in our constituency.”

“I’m just so honoured to serve our community,” she added. “It’s so diverse and it’s wonderful.”

READ MORE: Esquimalt-Metchosin candidates reflect on campaign as polls close

More British Columbians decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before, with Elections BC estimating that 35 per cent of voters used this method.

That means election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6, when mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 12,166 mail-in ballot packages were requested by voters in Esquimalt-Metchosin.

Watching from home, BC Liberal candidate RJ Senko said he wasn’t overly surprised by the results.

“It’s a bit unfortunate we couldn’t have a regular campaign and engage more between candidates,” he said. “I think that would have shown the electorate a little bit more.”

Before results came in, MacKinnon echoed Green leader Sonia Furstenau’s claim that the election was a political move by the NDP government.

Preliminary results show Andy MacKinnon, BC Green party candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin polling in second place, behind NDP candidate Mitzi Dean. MacKinnon ran in 2017 and took third, trailing then BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins. (Courtesy of Andy MacKinnon)

“It was a surprise election of course,” he said. “In my opinion [it was] a totally unnecessary election in an attempt by a government to gain a majority government. We went from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in no time at all. It was a bit frantic at the beginning.”

“I’m always happy when lots of people vote. I think the democratic process is really important. It’s way more important to me that people get out and vote than they get out and vote for me.”

First-time candidate McPherson said she was pleased with her campaign.

“Considering it’s my first item out of the gate, I’m an electrician not a politician and I did door to door [campaigning], I did amazing,” she said.

READ MORE: Provincial election results, riding by riding

RJ Senko, BC Liberal candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin said the campaign trail had challenges, but it was refreshing to connect with his community. (Courtesy of RJ Senko)

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

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.

In the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding, 10,232 people cast advance ballots, of the 41,312 registered voters in the riding.

Across B.C., a total of 724,279 mail-in ballots were requested and 497,900 have been returned to Elections BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23. This represents approximately 69 per cent.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

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

READ MORE: B.C. 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.

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

BC politicsBC Votes 2020