A photo from early in the campaign for the Chilliwack seat, Diane Janzen poses with one of her campaign signs. (Facebook/ Diane Janzen)

A photo from early in the campaign for the Chilliwack seat, Diane Janzen poses with one of her campaign signs. (Facebook/ Diane Janzen)

Conservative candidate for Chilliwack sitting in third in early results

Diane Janzen is a newcomer to the party after campaigning for the BC Liberals for a year

Early polling results show BC Conservative candidate Diane Janzen coming in third in a field of six in the Chilliwack riding.

Janzen is new to the party, having joined just days after leaving the BC Liberals.

She had worked at increasing membership at the riding association, lobbying for an open candidate nomination process to replace incumbent MLA John Martin. The BC Liberals did not provide a chance for that process and when the election was called, she announced her departure.

She addressed the matter in a letter to supporters on Sept. 20.

“I was assured by the Party over the past year and up until a few days ago that they would authorize an open nomination if I could gather enough support from the members,” Janzen wrote.

At least 160 of her supporters had purchased party memberships in good faith that there would be an open nomination meeting in the riding for candidate selection.

Janzen is the executive director of Chilliwack Community Services, and has served the community as a school board member and a city councillor in the past.

Early results for Chilliwack show NDP candidate Dan Coulter in the lead, but with just 54 of 83 ballot boxes reporting. At 11 p.m., Janzen was holding about 20 per cent of the vote, Coulter had about 35 per cent and BC Liberal incumbent John Martin had about 30 per cent.

READ MORE: Diane Janzen won’t be running for election under BC Liberal banner

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., after those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 5,809 number of mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Chilliwack riding, and 7,650 in Chilliwack-Kent. There are 37,676 registered voters in Chilliwack and 43,698 in Chilliwack-Kent.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 22.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

-with files from Jennifer Feinberg


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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BC politicsBC Votes 2020