The unprecedented volume of mail-in ballot requests and the need for election integrity means it will be at least three weeks before Elections BC is able to declare an official winner of today's provincial election.
During a briefing by Elections BC officials Friday, deputy chief electoral officer Charles Porter indicated the goal to return the the official results is Nov. 16.
However, given the high number of absentee ballots to be counted, he isn't sure if that date can be achieved.
Ballots cast during advance polls and at polling stations today will be counted after the polls closed.
Typically, he says that amounts to about 90 per cent of all votes cast, but will be significantly less given that at least 500,000 absentee and mail-in ballots will still be left to count.
The actual counting of absentee ballots, including mail-in cannot begin until 13 days after election day, in this case, Nov. 13.
"Our commitment is to prepare for, and conduct final count as soon after election day, while maintaining the necessary checks and ensuring that election officials, candidates and their scrutineers, and election workers are kept safe," said Porter.
"Given the increase in absentee ballots to be considered, it is possible that the 13 day preparatory period, and the count itself, will have to be extended.
"Final count usually last three days, but it could take longer this time. While we fully understand the need to report final results of the election on a timely basis, we must ensure that all legislative requirements are met, that all necessary integrity checks have been completed, and that the process is fair, transparent, accurate and secure."
Porter says the public will be kept apprised of when the final count of ballots will take place, but suggest the count could be staggered riding-by-riding, depending on the volume of absentee ballots to be counted.
"Districts with fewer mail-in ballots may be able to start on the usual 13 days after the election...while others with more mail-in ballots may take more time to prepare.'