*If you don't know me, I was a journalist at The Vancouver Sun for 17 years, including many years as a data journalist. I now teach journalism and data visualization at KPU. I've got a lot of experience number crunching election data. But one thing I don't have any more is an editor. So if you notice a mistake in what I've written here, or something isn't clear, please reach out at cskeltondata@gmail.com*

As folks in B.C. woke up on Sunday morning, with all the election-night votes counted, the BC NDP had 46 seats, the Conservatives had 45 and the Greens had 2.

A party needs 47 seats to have a majority and, in practice, 48 since the governing party usually needs to appoint the Speaker. So as the results sit right now, the BC NDP could only govern if they had the support of the Greens. The Greens seem unlikely to support the Conservatives and, even if they did, that would only give those two parties a combined 47 seats — not enough to govern if they also needed to appoint a speaker.But these are only the preliminary results. The final count doesn't take place until this coming weekend. And as Elections BC notes, there are about **49,000 votes** still left to count. That's about 500 votes on average in each riding, which is a lot more than the margin of victory in some of the closest races.

(UPDATE: On Oct. 24, Elections BC provided an updated estimate that **65,000 votes** remain to be counted. That works out to more like **700** votes on average in each riding rather than 500. Elections BC said the actual number of uncounted votes in each riding will be released on Friday, Oct. 25.)

In particular, the NDP's margin of victory in Juan de Fuca-Malahat is just **20 votes** and in Surrey Centre it's just **95 votes**. Similarly, the Conservatives are leading in Surey-Guildford by only **103 votes** and in Kelowna Centre by just **149 votes. **(Note: Some of these results have shifted a little since election night. The chart below is from CBC News)

**9 votes**. If the Liberals were able to flip that seats in the final count, they would have (just barely) held onto their majority.

**189 votes**.

*a lot*better in the final count — with a grain of salt. More than 30% of people voted by mail in 2020 due to the pandemic and how people felt about the risk of voting in person may well have correlated to which party they voted for. More on this later in the post.)

*a lot*fewer votes left to count this time than there were in previous elections. Even putting 2020's crazy pandemic numbers aside, in both 2013 and 2017, there were more than 170,000 votes left to be counted during the final count. In contrast, this time there are only about 49,000.

**103 votes**. Each party won about 47% of the vote in that riding on election night.

**10 percentage points better**in the final count, and the Conservatives

**10 percentage points worse**than they did on an election night. That's a lot bigger gap than the NDP's usual advantage in the final count. There have been some ridings where the swing in the final count is that big, but they're pretty rare.

**UPDATE**: Now that Elections BC says there are more like

**65,000 votes**remaining to be counted, about

**700**per riding, the math changes a bit. In Surrey-Guildford, that would mean the NDP would only need about

**54%**of the remaining votes to the Conservatives

**40%**to pick up another 104 votes

**(381 vs. 277)**. That's

**7 percentage points better**for the NDP and

**7 points worse**for the Conservatives. Or, put another way, just a 14-point gap rather than a 20-point one. That's still significantly higher than the average shift we've seen in final count. But it gets more in the realm of the possible.)

**20 votes**in Juan de Fuca - Malahat. But given that the right-of-centre BC Liberals consistently underperformed in the final vote count in past elections, it's reasonable to expect the Conservatives will, too.

*more*mail-in ballots than there were in 2013 or 2017, when there were only about 6,000. Indeed, in an email, Election BC's Andrew Watson told me the agency received roughly

**112,000**requests for mail ballots in 2024.

*is*possible that the 2020 election might have made some voters more comfortable with voting by mail — behaviour they then carried over to how they decided to vote in the 2024 election. And there were significantly more NDP voters who had that mail-in voting experience in 2020 than supporters of other parties.

*do*change, it's actually more likely it will because the recount was

*less*accurate than the election-night machine count. How that would all play out is an open question. But my bottom line assumption here is that the hand recounts will come up with basically the same result in ridings as the election-night machine counts.

Great analysis

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