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Kootenay East election: The drama will take days — a look at the numbers

It’s an unprecedented election for unprecedented times. Accordingly, unprecedented patterns of voter turnout. Consider:

Total voter turn-out in the 2017 BC Provincial election in Kootenay East was just over 17,000, slightly higher than the previous five elections (see list below).

As of Thursday, Oct. 22, Elections BC reported that in the riding of Kootenay East, about 3,200 votes had been cast by mail. Turn-out at the advance polls was huge — 8,117.

Let’s assume the voter turn-out will adhere to the average (see below). And in a pandemic,voter turn-out may be lower than average; on the other hand the increase in mail-in and advance turn-out may balance it out. In any case …

If roughly 11,300 votes have already been cast, and roughly 16,600 votes will be the total voter turn-out in this election, that means 68.75 of the votes in Kootenay East have already been cast.

It is interesting to speculate that the winner may have already have been determined in these advance and mail-in votes.

In the past two elections, the winning candidate came out on top by more than 4,000 votes ahead of the second place candidate. But, for a variety of factors, the finish could be a lot closer this time.

Final in-person and advance votes should be quickly counted on Election Night, Saturday, Oct. 24.

But it is pretty certain the winner of the 2020 provincial election in Kootenay East will not be known until those 3,200 votes in the mail are counted.

This will be high drama indeed, of a slower, more relentless kind than we are used to seeing on Election Night.

Stay tuned.

Voter turn-out in what is now know as Kootenay East over the past seven elections

• 2017: 17,087 (55.71 per cent)

• 2013: 16,413 (53.41 per cent)

• 2009: 16,462 (55.87 per cent)

• 2005: 16,899 (60.03 per cent)

• 2001: 16,559 (68.76 per cent)

• 1996: 16,643 (68.15 per cent)

• 1991: 16,112 (73. 94 per cent)

Average voter turn-out: 16,596 (62.27 per cent)