Boundary-Similkameen, Penticton candidates wary to accept projected wins before mail-in ballots counted

Wary to accept wins

Tight races in the two South Okanagan ridings eventually led to two projected winners in Saturday's BC provincial election, though both are only cautiously optimistic.

In Boundary-Similkameen, an open seat in the Legislature left by retiring Liberal MLA Linda Larson, the NDP nabbed the spot via Roly Russell. 

"Feeling pretty excited, still feeling pretty tentative to be willing to commit to anything given the number of mail in and so on that are yet to be counted," Russell said late Saturday night. 

"At the end of the day when eight o'clock hit tonight I felt like I really didn’t know how things were going to go still. My Liberal and Conservative counterparts both had some pretty effective campaigns so it really felt like a bit of a mystery going into the evening."

If the mail-in ballot counts match what has already come in, Russell has defeated Liberal Petra Veintimilla, Conservative Darryl Seres and independent separatist Arlyn Greig. 

By midnight Saturday, Russell had nearly 50 per cent of the votes with 92 of 98 ballot boxes reporting. 

"We know that there’s I think an order of 5,000 give or take mail-in ballots still to be counted and so that’s a significant number but the margin looks pretty good. So we won’t say it’s done until it’s done but I’m certainly feeling good tonight."

In Penticton, incumbent MLA Dan Ashton is the projected winner, with nearly 50 per cent of the votes from 123 of 129 ballot boxes counted as of midnight Saturday.

Ashton was unwilling to accept the win before the mail-in ballots are counted. 

"They cast their ballots, they need to be counted. It's still a big number out there," Ashton said Saturday. "I just want to be sure that the people who made the effort to cast a ballot and mail it in that their opportunity to be counted is done first of all before I say yay or nay to the opportunity of being successful." 

Ashton was faced in his riding by challengers Toni Boot, NDP, Keith MacIntyre, Libertarian, and Ted Shumaker, Green.

Elections BC has said they hope to deliver final results of the election by Nov. 16.

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