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NDP’s Kelli Paddon is the new MLA for Chilliwack-Kent after mail-in ballot count

Two weeks after Election Day and two days of counting, Paddon unseats incumbent Laurie Throness
NDP candidate for Chilliwack-Kent, Kelli Paddon, is seen on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 outside the district electoral office at Chilliwack Mall with her family (from left) husband Drew, 13-year-old daughter Rory and 15-year-old son Nic. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

After two days of mail-in ballot counting following a razor-thin Election Day margin, incumbent Laurie Throness is out and the BC NDP’s Kelli Paddon is the new MLA for Chilliwack-Kent.

With just a 195-vote lead after Oct. 24, Paddon took the riding by 1,303 votes on Saturday. According to Elections BC, the final count is still in progress but Paddon was unofficially announced MLA-elect Saturday afternoon by an Elections BC official.

“I really want to say thank you to the people who supported me. I’m really grateful, really humbled,” Paddon said Saturday afternoon outside the district electoral office at Chilliwack Mall.

The result was one of the closest MLA races in the province decided roughly two weeks after Election Day.

Final Results (Updated Saturday at 4:24 p.m.)

Kelli Paddon - NDP: 8,267 (36.42 per cent of popular vote)

Laurie Throness - Independent: 6,964 (30.68 per cent)

Jason Lum - Independent: 5,370 (23.65 per cent)

Jeff Hammersmark - Green: 1,822 (8.03 per cent)

Eli Gagné - Libertarian: 278 (1.22 per cent)

RELATED: Recap: Narrow preliminary lead for the NDP in Chilliwack-Kent, mail-ins to be counted

Going into Friday, Paddon led by a small margin of 195 votes over incumbent and ex-BC Liberal Throness, 5,199 to 5,004. Independent candidate Jason Lum followed with 3,842 votes.

Paddon thanked the volunteers who helped her campaign for their commitment and thanked her supporters as well.

The past two weeks have been “a lesson in patience while waiting,” Paddon added.

“But it was really important that it all be done properly so that everyone would know that it was handled well and their voices were heard.”

Elections BC explains there are several different types of absentee ballots that are counted at final count, including ballots cast at district electoral offices and ballots cast outside the voter’s electoral district of residence. Results will be updated on the Elections BC website on an ongoing basis during the counting process, and at the end of each counting day. Counting is expected to continue until 6 p.m. each day until final count is complete, but counting hours may vary by district to ensure that final count is completed as soon as possible.

RELATED: B.C. Elections: 6,400 mail-in ballots received for Chilliwack-Kent so far

– With files from Jessica Peters and Adam Louis

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