Harwinder Sandhu is pulling ahead in Vernon-Monashee.
The NDP candidate jumped ahead of BC Liberals incumbent Eric Foster late Friday, the first day of mail-in vote counting which will finalize the results of the provincial election.
Sandhu held a 50-vote lead for most of the day Saturday. That narrow margin has since expanded, according to Elections BC preliminary results.
As of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sandhu sits 282 votes ahead of Foster, who led the riding by 185 votes at the end of Election Day Oct. 24.
It’s been the one of the closest MLA races in the province, and there are still votes left to be counted. The final votes across B.C. are expected to be in by Sunday, but Elections BC says that could stretch into next week.
If two candidates remain within 100 votes of a tie at the end of the final count, a recount will be automatically triggered.
The riding had received 8,606 mail-in and absentee ballots prior to Friday. In all, Vernon-Monashee has more than 26,000 votes counted as of Saturday evening. Sandhu’s 9,568 votes give her 36.2 per cent of the vote share, with Foster holding 35.1 per cent currently
A win for Sandhu would constitute a major shake-up in the riding. Vernon-Monashee hasn’t elected an NDP candidate since the 1980s, while Foster has been the local MLA since 2009 and is seeking a fourth consecutive term with the BC Liberals. In 2017 he won with 48 per cent of the vote over the NDP’s 29 per cent.
The NDP will hold a majority government with 57 seats province-wide. The BC Liberals currently hold 27 seats while the Greens hold three.