Incumbent Liberal MLA Eric Foster trails NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu by 282 votes as counting of mail-in and absentee ballots for the Vernon-Monashee riding is expected to resume Sunday, Nov. 8. (Morning Star - file photo)

Incumbent Liberal MLA Eric Foster trails NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu by 282 votes as counting of mail-in and absentee ballots for the Vernon-Monashee riding is expected to resume Sunday, Nov. 8. (Morning Star - file photo)

Okanagan riding vote count could conclude Sunday

Harwinder Sandhu (NDP) holds 282 vote lead in Vernon-Monashee over incumbent Eric Foster (Liberal)

Will Harwinder Sandhu hold on and pull off an epic political upset in the Vernon-Monashee riding?

Or will three-term Liberal incumbent Eric Foster come from behind and snag a fourth term in Victoria?

Those questions could be answered by Elections B.C. today, Sunday, Nov. 8, as the mail-in and absentee votes continue to be counted.

Heading into Sunday, Sandhu, a Vernon nurse running for the NDP, enjoyed a 282 vote lead on Foster, and the final count could wrap up Sunday, though Elections BC has said it could stretch into next week.

It’s been the one of the closest MLA races in the province from the Oct. 24 election call.

If two candidates remain within 100 votes of a tie at the end of the final count, a recount will be automatically triggered.

The riding had received 8,606 mail-in and absentee ballots prior to Friday. In all, Vernon-Monashee has more than 26,000 votes counted as of Saturday evening. Sandhu’s 9,568 votes give her 36.2 per cent of the vote share, with Foster holding 35.1 per cent (9,286 votes).

Sandhu trailed Foster by 180 votes at the end of election night.

A win for Sandhu would constitute a major shake-up in the riding. Vernon-Monashee hasn’t elected an NDP candidate since the 1980s, while Foster has been the local MLA since 2009. In 2017 he won with 48 per cent of the vote over the NDP’s 29 per cent.

Keli Westgate of the Green Party remains in third place with 4,239 votes while Conservative candidate Kyle Delfing is fourth with 3,369 votes.

The NDP will hold a majority government with 57 seats province-wide. The BC Liberals currently hold 27 seats while the Greens hold three.

READ MORE: ‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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Election 2020