No surprises in final vote tally

Absentee votes couldn't shake the Liberals' wins in the Chilliwack ridings.

Absentee votes couldn’t shake the Liberals’ wins in the Chilliwack ridings. With the final count completed, the results are official: John Martin is the new MLA for Chilliwack, and Laurie Throness for Chilliwack-Hope.

The number of people who voted this season is up slightly from the 2009 election. In Chilliwack, 56 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot this year, compared with only 51 per cent in 2009. In Chilliwack-Hope, 58 per cent of registered voters came out, compared with 52 per cent in the last provincial election.

The improvement in turnout could be a result of more people taking advantage of convenient advance voting areas, with shorter line-ups and long operating hours spread over multiple days. In Chilliwack-Hope, nearly a quarter of all votes this year came through the advance booths, up seven points from 2009. The gains in Chilliwack were more modest: 18 per cent of votes were in advance of general voting day, compared with 16 per cent in 2009. Absentee votes are also rising, bringing a few extra percentage points to the final count.

The courtesy of flexible voting comes at a price. Although the final calculation for this election won’t be available until next year, the past few provincial elections have seen a dramatic jump in cost to the taxpayer. The 2009 election was the most expensive yet, at $11.77 per registered voter. The 2001 and 2005 elections were both just over $8. In 1928, the earliest that data is available, a vote cost the province 70 cents.

Provincially, the Liberals may have lost one seat to the NDP in Coquitlam-Maillardville once the absentee votes rolled in. However, Elections B.C. has applied for a judicial recount in the riding, because only 35 votes separate the top two candidates. The Liberals now hold 49 seats in Legislature, the NDP 34, the Green Party one seat, and an independent candidate the final seat.

The final count for the 2013 B.C. election in local ridings is as follows:

Chilliwack

Chad Elton Eros, B.C. Conservative Party: 2,510 votes, 11.96%

Michael Halliday, B.C. Excalibur Party:181 votes, 0.86%

Patti MacAhonic, B.C. NDP: 6,548 votes, 31.21%

John Martin, B.C. Liberal Party: 9,983 votes, 47.58%

Kim Reimer, Green Party of B.C.: 1,761 votes, 8.39%

Final voting results: 20,983 votes, 100%

Chilliwack-Hope

Michael Henshall, B.C. Conservative Party: 2,202 votes, 10.77%

Ryan McKinnon, Independent: 833 votes, 4.07%

Gwen O’Mahony, B.C. NDP: 7,364 votes, 36.01%

Laurie Throness, B.C. Liberal Party: 10,053 votes, 49.15%

Final voting results: 20,452 votes, 100%

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