Liberal candidate Marc Dalton checks polling results as they come in on election night.

Dalton asks for a recount

Former Maple Ridge-Mission MLA lost by only 120 votes

B.C. Liberal candidate Marc Dalton has filed for a recount in Maple Ridge-Mission.

Dalton, who served the past eight years as MLA in the riding, lost by 120 votes to NDP MLA-elect Bob D’Eith in the May 9 provincial election.

Bob D’Eith had 9,843 votes, while Dalton had 9,723.

After, Dalton filed for a recount, but said he was initially declined by Elections B.C.

Recounts only occur if the outcome in a riding was decided by 100 or fewer votes.

However, 1,700 to 2,000 outstanding ballots have yet to be counted, according to Dalton, who remains hopeful the outcome will swing in his direction, and give his party a majority government.

In the 2013 election, Dalton said there were 1,700 outstanding ballots – those cast outside the riding, and at polling stations not of the assigned address, including the electoral office in the riding.

The latter was located in downtown Maple Ridge, which Dalton said was closer for many voters in the riding than those assigned to their home addresses. While campaigning, he encouraged voters to go early to the electoral office, to ensure they voted.

Given that, he’s hoping they voted for him.

Dalton estimates as many as 1,000 ballots were cast at the electoral office, and knows of 864 absentee ones in the riding that have not been counted yet.

In 2013, Dalton gained 168 votes from absentee ballots. A similar outcome this time could force a recount, or change the result outright.

“I am hopeful that will make up for the overall deflation in our percentages,” Dalton said.

The absentee ballots are to be counted over two or three days.

In Maple Ridge-Mission, Peter Tam of the Greens had 3,181 votes, followed by Trevor Hamilton of the Conservatives (850) and Jeff Monds (144) of the Libertarians.

Provincially, the Liberals won 43 seats on Tuesday, four less than in 2013.

The NDP took 41 seats, six more than the previous election.

The Greens won three seats this time, two more than before, and all on Vancouver Island.

Voter turnout in B.C. hit 60 per cent for the first time since 2005, according to Elections B.C. data released Thursday.

The count is only a preliminary one – final absentee voter numbers won’t be released until May 24.