When Cariboo North voters fill out their ballots on Saturday, Oct. 24 (or sooner if by mail), they’ll be greeted with a familiar sight.
Not only is incumbent Coralee Oakes of the B.C. Liberals gunning for a third term in the legislature, but the biggest challenger of 2017, the NDP’s Scott Elliott, is also running.
According to Elections BC results, those two candidates combined for more than 85 per cent of the vote in 2017. Oakes broke 50 per cent, and Elliott was more than 35 per cent.
Green Party and B.C. Conservative Party candidates both received less than eight per cent of the vote.
While most drama takes place on election night, early voting played a big role in the results of 2017.
More than 3,000 people voted at the Quesnel and District Senior Centre alone — accounting for a quarter of voters in the election. While Oakes won the early voting battle by a couple hundred votes, Elliott overperformed his final totals in the riding.
Only 28 people voted through the mail in 2017 — well off from the 35 per cent Elections BC expects in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.
As mail-in ballots are counted after election night, there’s a good chance residents could be waiting a week to figure out who represents them and who is elected as the governing party.
Both Elliott and Oakes spent more than $55,000 on the election in 2017, according to Elections BC filings.
The riding of North Cariboo will have the same boundaries in 2020 as it did in 2017 — stretching out west to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, south to (but not including) Williams Lake, and east, including Wells, Horsefly and Likely.
Elliott only won four of the 40 voting districts in the riding, with Oakes winning each other area, barring one tie, but voting in districts on election day paled in comparison to early voting.
The NDP’s strongest areas were in West Quesnel, and they succeeded in the district that includes Wells and Bakerville. Elliott also received the most votes in the district including downtown Quesnel.
In all West Quesnel districts, Elliott won 45 per cent of the ballots cast on election night. Oakes received just under 40 per cent there.
Oakes received more than 60 per cent of the vote in six districts. In each of the districts that make up South Quesnel and the surrounding area, Oakes received at least 50 per cent of the votes on election night.