Liberal candidates Laurie Throness (left) and John Martin congratulate each other on election night at the Best Western. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Martin and Throness lose slight lead with Chilliwack area absentee votes

Liberal seats still far out of reach for NDP and Greens in Chilliwack ridings

With the final results of absentee voters counted early this week, both Chilliwack-area MLAs have lost only a small fraction of their strong leads.

Chilliwack MLA John Martin’s initial 48.8 per cent has dropped to 48.15 percent, and Chilliwack-Kent’s Laurie Throness dropped from 53.5 per cent to 52.75 per cent.

The Liberal Party was one seat away from being able to call a majority government on election night, with a handful of many too-close-to-call ridings. Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent, considered safe Liberal ridings, were not among the close calls. But the results do show that absentee voters can move the needle.

There were 1,461 absentee ballots to count in Chilliwack, and 1,523 in Chilliwack-Kent. While the incumbents lost a bit of their lead, their campaign counterparts gained some.

In Chilliwack, the NDP’s Tracey O’Hara earned an extra 534 votes, moving her from 32 per cent to 32.56 per cent. Similarly, Martin captured 539 absentee votes.

Green candidate Wayne Froese earned 263 more votes, moving from 17 per cent to 17.19 per cent. Independent candidate Ryan McKinnon earned 32 more votes, earning 2.11 per cent of the vote. In total, 12,455 of 34,039 eligible voters cast a valid ballot in the Chilliwack riding.

In Chilliwack-Kent, 19,066 of 36,809 eligible voters cast a ballot.

The NDP’s Patti MacAhonic moved from 31.8 per cent to 32.40 per cent of the vote, with 595 absentee votes. Throness earned fewer absentee votes, with 584.

Finally, Green candidate Josie Bleuer earned 247 absentee votes, changing her election night results up slightly, from 14.7 per cent to 14.86 per cent.

BC Elections is counting in the absentee ballots in all B.C. ridings with a final count to be announced May 24. Watch this website for updates.