Party leaders cast ballots, try to shore up support, as decision looms
B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre to cast her vote while in Shawnigan Lake, B.C., on Saturday, October 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
VANCOUVER -- Cowichan Valley candidate and BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau walked into the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre to cast her ballot Saturday morning.
"Every time, I'm like, did I vote for the right person?" she said with a laugh as she walked out. "But I did. I checked twice."
It's been a whirlwind few weeks for Furstenau, who was forced to hit the campaign trail just a few days after taking over as leader of the BC Greens.
"Incredible candidates have stepped forward. Incredible teams. The support level has been amazing," she said. "I'm really humbled and proud of what the Greens have accomplished."
Over in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson brought his yellow Lab Rosie to the polling station.
He did not take questions from the media, but was heard commenting to Elections BC staff that the polling station at the Hellenic Community Centre seemed quieter than on past election days.
According to Elections BC, 681,055 people cast ballots in advance polls this year, up from 597,749 advance votes counted in 2017.
NDP leader John Horgan was one of those who voted early, casting his ballot on Monday at an advance polling station in his riding of Juan de Fuca.
Elections BC says 724,279 vote by mail packages were requested this year, many times more than were requested in the last election.
Those ballots need to be verified and Elections BC won't be able to start counting them until 13 days after election day, meaning some close ridings may not be decided until well into November.
"It sounds like there's been really good turnout for the advance polls and I know a lot of people have mailed in ballots," said Furstenau. "I really hope that we don't see a decline in voter turnout. I'm glad that Elections BC has done so much to make it as safe as possible."
Although Horgan did not cast a ballot on Saturday, he was out doing some last minute stumping with fellow NDP candidates near Science World in Vancouver.
"I can't tell you how happy I am that we're done," said Horgan, who called the election one year early despite the province being in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He did not take questions from reporters.