Final results in tight B.C. election could take weeks to be finalized
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VANCOUVER — Preliminary results of Tuesday's election in British Columbia show the province heading for a minority government for the first time in 65 years, with the incumbent Liberals one seat shy of a razor-thin majority and the Greens holding the balance of power.
But the final seat count won't be known for at least a couple weeks, as absentee ballots are tallied and recounts are likely in closely fought ridings. Here is a rough timeframe of how the coming weeks could shake out, keeping in mind the dates may shift depending on when requests are made or when Elections BC releases its results:
May 9: Election day.
May 12: Candidates or their official agents have three days from the election to ask that the ballots cast be recounted. If approved, this recount coincides with the final count, when absentee ballots are tallied. This request can be made on a number of grounds, including if there are 100 votes or fewer separating the top two candidates.
May 22 to 24: B.C. allows voters to cast their ballot at any polling station in the province, including outside their home riding. These absentee ballots are then shipped to the appropriate riding. Counting cannot begin until 13 days after the election. Once the count is complete, Elections BC declares the official election results.
May 30: A voter, candidate or electoral officer has six days after the official results are announced to ask the Supreme Court of British Columbia to conduct a judicial recount. A recount can be granted if it's believed the ballot count doesn't accurately reflect the number of votes a candidates receives. A mandatory judicial recount occurs in the event of a tie or if the vote difference between the two front runners is less than 0.2 per cent of the total ballots considered.
June 2: B.C. Supreme Court must decide within three days whether it will grant a recount, and provide the date, time and location it will take place.
June 10: The judicial recount must be completed within eight days of being granted.
June 12: A candidate can file an appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court recount to the province's Appeal Court within two days of the recount results being released.
June 22: A time to hear the appeal must be scheduled within 10 days of the appeal being filed, after which there is no concrete deadline for when the court must hear the case.
Source: Elections BC, B.C.'s Election Act