Premier Christy Clark greets Lt. Governor Judith Guichon for the reading of the government’s throne speech, 2013. Guichon will have a pivotal role if the final vote count leaves a minority parliament in B.C.

UPDATE: Final vote counts coming in, no seat changes yet

Recount in Courtenay-Comox leaves 13-vote NDP lead

Final voting results were declared in several B.C. constituencies as Elections B.C. officials began a three-day final count that will determine the shape of the next provincial government.

By the end of the first day counting absentee ballots and conducting two official recounts, there were no changes in party standings.

Declared elected after absentee ballots were considered Monday were the NDP’s Anne Kang in Burnaby-Deer Lake, B.C. Liberal Donna Barnett in Cariboo-Chilcotin, B.C. Liberal John Martin in Chilliwack, B.C. Liberal Laurie Throness in Chilliwack-Kent, B.C. Liberal Joan Isaacs in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, B.C. Liberal Peter Milobar in Kamloops-North Thompson, B.C. NDP’s Katrine Conroy in Kootenay West, B.C. Liberal Mary Polak in Langley, B.C. NDP’s Leonard Krog in Nanaimo, B.C. NDP’s Michelle Mungall in Nelson-Creston, B.C. NDP’s Claire Trevena in North Island, B.C. Liberal Dan Ashton in Penticton, B.C. Liberal Teresa Wat in Richmond North Centre, B.C. Liberal Ellis Ross in Skeena, and the B.C. NDP’s Doug Donaldson in Stikine.

An official recount was completed Monday in Courtenay-Comox, with a 13-vote lead for the NDP candidate after preliminary counting, up from nine on election night. Another 2,077 absentee ballots are to be counted Tuesday.

In Vancouver-False Creek , where an error on a polling station voting envelope triggered a recount, incumbent B.C. Liberal Sam Sullivan retained a 568-vote lead over NDP challenger Morgane Oger. Results could change in that and other contests with absentee ballots.

Final counts usually get little attention, but this time results are so close provincially and in some of B.C.’s 87 constituencies that even small shifts could produce a majority or minority government. Elections B.C. began updating its totals from each constituency on Monday, with the final count to be declared by Wednesday.

There were 179,380 absentee ballots not counted on election night May 9, including those who mailed in ballots from outside their home constituencies. Ballots collected by Elections B.C. mobile teams, in hospitals, remote work camps and one that went door-to-door in an area isolated by a landslide in the Shuswap, are also not included in election night vote counts.

If there are no changes to winners, the election night total will stand at 43 seats for the B.C. Liberals, 41 for the B.C. NDP, and three seats for the B.C. Greens, who could then choose which party to support in a minority government. A one-seat gain for the B.C. Liberals would give them a majority.

In the event of a minority, Premier Christy Clark would be expected to ask Lt. Governor Judith Guichon for official permission to carry on governing. The minority government would fall if it loses a confidence vote on its budget, which was introduced and not passed before the election.

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