New polls widen Austin’s lead

Advance and absentee ballots bring Terrace-based MLA's win margin to 522

VOTING RESULTS for the Skeena riding were finalized earlier this week, solidifying NDP candidate Robin Austin’s re-election win over BC Liberal Carol Leclerc in the May 14 provincial election.

The final tally from Elections BC marks Austin at 5,609 or 47.71 per cent of the vote. That’s 522 votes over Leclerc’s 5,087 or 43.27 per cent of the vote.

Preliminary results on election night had the count closer, with only 363 votes between the two candidates.

Austin campaign manager Gord Lechner said he was expecting the gap to widen as the final votes were counted.

“Many of those votes are from very committed voters, either out of the riding or voting early before advance polls were open,” he said. “We historically do well in the advance and absentee poll stations.”

Voter turnout for the Skeena riding has also increased, with final numbers from Elections BC showing that 11,756 registered voters took to the polls.

There were 20,645 registered voters in Skeena as of April 23, according to Elections BC.

Using those numbers, voter turnout is close to 57 per cent, just under the provincial average of 58 per cent, and two per cent higher than the 55 per cent that turned out in Skeena in 2009.

When comparing the 2013 results with those of the last provincial election in 2009, Austin’s vote went down by 256 and Liberal challenger Carol Leclerc posted 759 more votes than Donny van Dyk did for the Liberal party in 2009.

And as a result, Austin’s majority was slashed from 1,537 in 2009 to just 522 this time.

Austin’s first election victory in 2005 was accomplished when he collected 6,166 votes compared to 5,807 for incumbent MLA Roger Harris who receive 5,807 votes.

Final voter registration numbers, including voters who registered on election day, will not be released until the official Statement of Voters list is released.

Provincially, voter turnout was up at 1,802,079 voters, that’s 161,537 higher than 2009’s 1,640,542 that translated into a 50 per cent voter turnout.

Premier Christy Clark will unveil her new cabinet this Friday at a ceremony in Vancouver, a change in protocol because cabinets are traditionally sworn in by the Lieutenant-Governor at Government House in Victoria.

 

Clark lost her own seat May 14 and must  decide which Liberal MLA will resign so a by-election can be held.