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B.C. VOTES 2020: Coralee Oakes on track to reclaim Cariboo North seat

Mail-in ballots have not been counted, but the incumbent B.C. Liberal has 49.4 per cent of the vote
Kelly and Mila Bradley attended a drive-by volunteer event for Coralee Oakes. The incumbent B.C. Liberal is the preliminary leader for the Cariboo North. (Photo Submitted)

Update Sunday, Oct. 25 at 5:15 a.m.

All 55 ballot boxes in the Cariboo North riding were reported just before 2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, and preliminary results show incumbent B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes holding a 1,531-vote lead.

With 9,113 votes counted, Elections BC shows Oakes with 4,503 votes and 49.41 per cent of the popular vote. The NDP’s Scott Elliott has 2,972 votes and 32.61 per cent.

Conservative Kyle Townsend has 1,052 votes and 11.54 per cent of the vote, and the Green Party’s Douglas Gook has 586 votes and 6.43 per cent.

Mail-in ballots have not yet been counted in this or any riding in B.C. An estimated 2,000 mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Cariboo North riding.

Original story Saturday, Oct. 24 at 11:20 p.m.

Preliminary results show incumbent B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes with a 1,340-vote lead in Cariboo North.

Despite the Election Day province-wide results taking a nearly 10-point swing towards the NDP compared to the 2017 election, Oakes kept her vote totals high. She has nearly matched the 51 per cent mark she hit in 2017, with advance and mail-in ballots yet to be counted.

“What this election has demonstrated is a strong rural-urban divide,” she said Saturday night. “I think you will see in all of our rural ridings, we were able to maintain a pretty consistent vote because we fight for issues that are important to rural ridings.”

As of 11:15 p.m., Elections BC is reporting Oakes has 4,157 votes, or 49.44 per cent, with 51 of 55 ballot boxes reported. The NDP’s Scott Elliott has 2,717 votes, or 32.31 per cent.

Conservative Kyle Townsend has 985 votes and 11.72 per cent, while the Green Party’s Douglas Gook has 549 votes and 6.53 per cent.

As of 11:15 p.m., 8,408 votes have been counted. There are 21,960 registered voters in Cariboo North.

John Horgan’s NDP appears on track to form a strong majority government.

Oakes wasn’t popping her personal celebratory champagne yet, instead choosing to wait until the final ballots are counted. An estimated 2,000 Cariboo North voters requested a mail-in ballot, and those ballots are counted after Election Day.

“I think it’s important that everyone’s vote is counted,” she said. “While I’m optimistic, I think it’s important to wait.”

Oakes has sat while the B.C. Liberals have formed government in the legislature, and in opposition, and she feels she’s worked well with community groups to bring concerns and projects to government in both cases.

“What was extremely clear during this election … was how many seniors we’ve lost over the last few months,” she said. “As a community, we should be focusing on what is happening with our senior population.”

Oakes said infrastructure projects in the riding need to be moved forward quickly.

“I’m calling on the public servants in the government to get out of caretaker mode as quickly as possible because we need these projects to move forward,” she said. “We just need to be moving forward.”

Results reported tonight are preliminary results, as 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 2,000 mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Cariboo North riding.

Across B.C., a total of 497,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23. There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

READ MORE: ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

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