– Story by Mike Patterson

The final count of ballots cast in the BC election began today.

In addition to the votes counted on general election day and in the advance polls, there are now more than 664,000 mail-in and absentee ballots that can be counted.

The avalanche of mail-in ballots may alter things in some ridings.

However, it’s not likely that NDP leader John Horgan’s large majority of 55 seats in the legislature will change much.

Where the final count could make a difference is in ridings like Parksville-Qualicum, where incumbent Michelle Stilwell of the Liberals is about a thousand votes behind her NDP challenger, Adam Walker. The riding has more than 13-thousand mail-in ballots to be counted.

In the Cowichan Valley constituency, Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau has a lead of about 11-hundred votes over the NDP’s Rob Douglas, but there are more than 10,000 mail-in ballots to be counted.

In West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding Jeremy Valeriote of the Green Party holds a 600-vote lead over the Liberal incumbent, but there are nearly 7000 mail-in ballots to be counted.

The counting will last until 6 pm each day until the final count is complete.

However, counting hours may vary in each district to ensure the final count is completed as soon as possible.