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British Columbia Final count complete in B.C. election; NDP picks up seat at Liberal’s expense

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark prepares to cast her ballot during advanced voting in Burnaby, B.C. Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The final count of ballots is now complete, and only one riding has changed hands in favour of the New Democratic Party since election night in British Columbia.

Elections BC wrapped up its final count Wednesday afternoon, almost three days after beginning a process that requires district electoral officers to tally absentee ballots in the province's 85 ridings.

The BC Liberals have officially elected 49 members to the province's legislature, one less than the 50 announced May 14, while the NDP has won 34 seats.

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For the first time in the province's history, the Green Party of B.C. will have a seat in the legislature, and Independent candidate Vicki Huntington will return to Victoria to represent Delta South.

The riding that appears to have changed from Liberal to New Democratic hands is Coquitlam-Maillardville, which Elections BC wants subjected to a judicial recount by a BC Supreme Court justice.

Liberal Steve Kim was declared the winner election night, but the NDP's Selina Robinson is now in front by just 35 votes.

The NDP has also taken the riding of Saanich North and the Islands. NDP candidate Gary Holman led Liberal Stephen Roberts on election night by 52 ballots, but the final gap has now grown to 163 votes.

According to the official results, Holman won 10,515 ballots, and Roberts came in second with 10,352 ballots.

Until the election, the riding was held by Murray Coell, a Liberal MLA elected in 1996, 2001, 2005 and 2009. Coell also served as a cabinet minister.

Don Main of Elections BC said almost twice as many British Columbians voted by absentee ballots in the province's 40th general election compared to the race in 2009.

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"In 2009, we had about 90,000 absentee ballots, and this election we actually had about 170,000," he said.

Main said the names of the winners of each of the province's 85 ridings will be returned to the clerk of the house in Victoria June 5.

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