Most mail-in ballots will be counted by end of Wednesday, Elections Canada says

A clutch of close-run election ridings, including a nail-biting photo finish in Vancouver Granville, are still waiting for mail ballots to be counted to determine the final result.

But Elections Canada says it expects most of the 850,000 postal votes, which were not counted on Monday night, to be tallied by the end of Wednesday.

A number of ridings that were still too close to call on election night — including Fredericton and Edmonton Centre — were declared on Wednesday for the Liberals after the count wrapped up.

Another, Toronto’s Spadina-Fort York, was declared for Kevin Vuong, who was on the ballot as a Liberal although he’d been disavowed by the party over a late campaign revelation that he’d been charged with sexual assault in 2019. The charge was later dropped but the party has said Vuong will have to sit as an Independent MP.

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But in a number of knife-edge races, candidates were holding their breath to see if mail ballots confirm the results of in-person votes.

Click to play video: 'Canada election: Mail-in ballots could play pivotal role' Canada election: Mail-in ballots could play pivotal role

Canada election: Mail-in ballots could play pivotal role

An analysis of mail ballot results by a public opinion research firm has shown that of all the postal votes counted so far, the majority are from Liberal voters.

Quito Maggi, a data scientist and pollster, found that Liberal supporters were far more likely to have voted by mail than Tories and NDP supporters.

He said progressive voters — as in the United States — were more inclined to opt to vote by post, rather than attend polling stations, during the COVID pandemic.

Read more: Mail-in ballots will not be opened until Tuesday, election officials say

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Maggi’s analysis found that an estimated 40 per cent of postal ballots were from Liberal voters, compared to 30 per cent from Conservatives and 16 per cent from people who voted NDP. Only eight per cent of Bloc voters voted by mail, in ridings declared so far.

“Liberals have a much larger lead in the mail-in ballots,” Maggi said.

“Like in the U.S., more progressive voters were frightened to go out during the pandemic and ordered their mail-in ballots. Most of the Conservative vote is in rural ridings. There’s less fear and apprehension of going out to vote in places such as rural Saskatchewan.”

Final results continued to roll in across the country yesterday as mail ballots were counted. But Elections Canada warned that in some ridings with thousands of postal votes final results may not be available until Friday.

In some constituencies, verifying mail ballots took all day Tuesday, before counting could start, a spokesman for Elections Canada confirmed.

Click to play video: 'Analysis: How the election results will play out in Parliament' Analysis: How the election results will play out in Parliament

Analysis: How the election results will play out in Parliament

Mail ballots have to be carefully checked to ensure they have been signed and that people have not already voted in person, or sent in more than one ballot by post.

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In tight ridings, candidates are likely to ask for a recount, which could further delay the result.

Many results have yet to be finally declared in close-run battles where mail ballots could dictate who wins and who misses out.

In the tightest race in the country, just 24 votes separate frontrunner Marty Morantz of the Conservatives and Liberal challenger Doug Eyolfson in the Manitoba riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley.

The race in Nanaimo-Ladysmith saw 1,001 votes separating New Democrat Lisa Marie Barron from Conservative Tamara Kronis. On Wednesday, 6,892 postal votes were still being counted.

In Richmond Centre, 698 votes separate Liberal Wilson Miao from Conservative incumbent Alice Wong. There are 4,463 mail ballots still being tallied.

And in hotly contested Vancouver Granville, Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed was just 258 votes ahead of NDP candidate Anjali Appadurai in the race to replace Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould. Around 2,000 mail ballots were left to be counted.

Read more: Canadians voting by mail could decide election, data shows

British Columbia received the most mail ballots of all the provinces.

In Victoria, more than 12,600 people voted by mail, the most in Canada, followed by Saanich-Gulf Islands where over 10,700 people opted for postal votes.

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Matthew McKenna, a spokesman for Elections Canada, said verifying huge numbers of ballots had delayed counting in some areas.

“The counting of local ballots will take place throughout the day _ local offices also had to do verifications of special ballots, and for many, that took all day yesterday,” he said Wednesday. “We do expect the vast majority to be counted by the end of the day.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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