B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes won nearly 50 per cent of the votes in Cariboo North to win a third term in the B.C. legislature. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes won nearly 50 per cent of the votes in Cariboo North to win a third term in the B.C. legislature. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Coralee Oakes retains seat in Cariboo North after final count completed

The B.C. Liberal incumbent expanded her lead with the addition of mail-in ballots

The final votes in the 2020 B.C. provincial election have been counted.

Going into the final count, incumbent B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes had a 1,531-vote lead in the Cariboo North riding, meaning NDP challenger Scott Elliott needed to win nearly all of the 1,971 mail-in or absentee ballots to make up the difference.

Oakes actually expanded her vote lead after all the ballots were counted, narrowly beating Elliott by 27 votes in the absentee and mail-in ballot count to earn a third term as MLA.

The final results turned into a repeat of the 2017 totals. Oakes had 48.42 per cent of votes, and Elliott had 34.36 per cent, both dropping slightly from the 51.05 per cent and 35.57 per cent they won respectively in 2017.

READ MORE: B.C. VOTES 2020: Looking back at 2017 Cariboo North numbers

Oakes finished with 5,267 votes, while Elliott had 3,809. Kyle Townsend of the B.C. Conservative Party finished with 1,201 votes, while B.C. Green Party candidate Douglas Gook had 707.

Only 11,084 people in Cariboo North cast a ballot in the 2020 provincial election, around 52 per cent of eligible voters in the district. That’s the lowest turnout for a provincial election since the riding was formed in 1991. Only once before, in 2013, did turnout drop below 60 per cent.

The riding stretches out west to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, south to (but not including) Williams Lake and east, including Wells, Horsefly and Likely.

After election night, five races were up in the air with mail-in ballots to come. The NDP managed to hang onto all four of their close leads, ending with a 57-seat majority in the legislature. The B.C. Green Party looked to have won a historic victory on Oct. 24, taking the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding when election night ballots were tallied, but after the final count, the B.C. Liberal incumbent took a 41-vote lead. With a margin that narrow, there is an automatic recount, which will be scheduled by the B.C. Supreme Court.

READ MORE: Final ballot count confirms British Columbia’s NDP increased seat count to 57

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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