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In a surprise twist, Liberals hold on to West Vancouver-Sea to Sky by 41 votes

Under the Election Act, a judicial recount must take place because the final vote between the two candidates is so close
Jordan Sturdy. Photo THE CHIEF STAFF

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky is poised to stay red after the Greens were initially projected to win the riding following the election last month.

Although it looked like Jeremy Valeriote of the B.C. Green Party would take the riding after election day on Oct. 24, it’s apparent that Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy has held on to the seat now that 100 per cent of the vote has been accounted for.

Sturdy won the election by a mere 41 ballots, according to results made available by Elections BC on Saturday. With mail-in ballots accounted for, Sturdy has ended up with 9,216 total votes, or 37.52 per cent of the popular vote, against Valeriote’s 9,175 votes.

By the end of election day last month, polls showed that Valeriote was leading with 7,019 votes and he was projected to win the riding against Sturdy’s 6,415 ballots.

However, that didn’t take into account the high number of mail-in ballots. This year, mail-in votes accounted for about 18 per cent of the 42,786 voters registered in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, a massive increase from the 2017 election where only 114 ballots were mailed in for the riding.

Elections BC began its ballots count for mail-in votes on Friday, with candidates and voters alike left waiting to find out if those ballots would make a difference to the final tally.

With Sturdy squeaking in a victory at the 11th Hour, he continues years of Liberal dominance in the riding, which has remained red for the last three decades.  

When reached by phone after all the votes in the riding were accounted for Saturday, Sturdy called the result a “pleasant surprise” but wasn’t celebrating just yet.

“There’s 41 votes, come on. It’s flipped once,” said Sturdy. “It’s really too early to be declaring anything, I’d say. There’s clearing going to be a judicial recount. Obviously it’s tightened up as I thought it would.” 

Noting the diversity of the riding and what a pleasure it has been to serve the people of West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, Sturdy said he would hope to be able to carry on as its MLA following a judicial recount.

“We’re going to count it again and we’ll see where we are at the end of the week,” he said.

Under the Election Act, a judicial recount must take place because the final vote between the two candidates is so close. The recount, and the timing of the recount, will be conducted and determined by the B.C. Supreme Court, and may include some or all of the ballots, according to Elections BC.

If Valeriote had been elected he would have become the first Green Party candidate to be officially elected in the Lower Mainland and his win would have secured official party status for the provincial Greens

- with files from Jane Seyd (North Shore News), Steven Chua and Jennifer Thuncher (Squamish Chief)