EDITORIAL: Our ballots did count

Residents in the Saanich North and the Islands provincial riding are scratching their heads about the NDP candidate’s 52-vote margin

In an extreme example of how everyone’s vote counts, residents in the Saanich North and the Islands provincial riding are scratching their heads about the NDP candidate’s 52-vote margin over the B.C. Liberals’ candidate.

Green Party candidate Adam Olsen put it well when he told the News Review that no one in this riding can say that their vote didn’t count.

Those votes will certainly count as the preliminary result putting Gary Holman into a slim lead over Stephen Roberts will be tallied again. Absentee and mail-in ballots will also be added to the total on May 27. Some folks are saying that’s an additional 1,500 votes that need to be added up. In a ‘normal’ election, those votes might not have swayed a final result — but here on the Peninsula, we know better.

In 2009, Holman was a close second behind winner Murray Coell — only around 300 votes.

A by-election in the District of North Saanich put a councillor at the table with an even smaller margin of victory.

On May 14, the top three finishers in the provincial election in this riding all have a chance at getting those outstanding votes — even Olsen, who finished only around 360 votes behind.

Saanich North and the Islands recorded an estimated 64 per cent voter turnout — above the provincial average of 52 per cent. Not bad, all things considered, but imagine if more people had taken the little amount of time it takes to vote. The result on the Peninsula could have been quite different.

Olsen is correct. The votes in Saanich North and the Islands meant a great deal in this election. It shows — despite the old complaint that a single vote doesn’t matter — that the individual ballots add up and can sway the political leanings of any single riding.

The importance of those absentee and mail-in ballots cannot be overstated in this recount. Those people know who they are and should feel pride that their votes will probably be the ones that decide the outcome of the election — at least in this riding.