Saanich North MLA candidates neck and neck heading into final count

Extra ballots will likely decide tight three-way race

As Elections B.C. begins counting absentee and special voting ballots today from all 85 electoral districts in the provincial election, the focus in Greater Victoria will be on Saanich North and the Islands.

Voters who sent the NDP’s Gary Holman to a slim 52-vote victory over runner-up Stephen Roberts of the B.C. Liberals on election night May 14 – the Green Party’s Adam Olsen was 387 back of Holman – can expect to hear a final result by Wednesday, according to Elections B.C.

“We are still in this to win,” Roberts stated in a email letter to supporters and media shortly after the general election. “Everything comes to those who wait. We will wait, and we will conclude this election successfully.”

Following the May 14, a request for an official recount of advance and general ballots was made on behalf of Roberts. That recount will take place after the absentee and special ballots are counted and will be included in an announcement of the final count.

No other Greater Victoria results are expected to be affected by the extra votes. The next closest races were in Saanich South, where the NDP’s Lana Popham defeated second-place finisher Rishi Sharma of the B.C. Liberals by almost 2,400 votes; and Oak Bay-Gordon Head, which saw the Greens’ Andrew Weaver defeat incumbent B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Ida Chong by a similar margin.

NDP candidates Carole James (Victoria-Beacon Hill), Rob Fleming (Victoria-Swan Lake), Maurine Karagianis (Esquimalt-Royal Roads) and John Horgan (Juan de Fuca) easily won their bids for re-election.

The public can view online updates to the post-election tally in all 85 constituencies at noon and 4:30 p.m. Visit http://bit.ly/170i42i, select election results by candidate then click on the individual electoral district for ongoing results.

ddescoteau@vicnews.com