"If you cast your ballot say in Prince George but you reside in Victoria of your ballot will be sent after the initial countdown to your riding of residence to be counted there during the final count so that's where the time period between the initial count and final count comes into play".
With all polls reporting, Leonard, a former Courtenay councillor, edged out Liberal candidate Jim Benninger by just nine votes in one of the most nail-biting finishes in the province.
The NDP has 41 and the Greens have three, putting leader Andrew Weaver in the driver's seat to prop up either party in a coalition-type government.
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"The last time we had absentee ballots, the NDP actually won those".
But even if the Liberals take Courtenay-Comox, it's still possible for them to lose Richmond-Queensborough and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, he added. "But certainly, in this election, there's a lot of focus on the absentee ballots".
Milligan analyzed the absentee vote in these tight ridings from 2013, then plugged the numbers into a simulation that he ran one million times. "All of those ballots, under those circumstances, get counted during the final count".
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Milligan sees the NDP holding on to a number of ridings with close results - including Courtenay-Comox, which Ronna-Rae Leonard won by nine votes on Tuesday. The split between the NDP and the Liberals on election night this year was 120 votes.
Sam Sullivan hung onto this riding for the Liberals by a little more than 500 votes. This year, however, the riding was much closer than most pundits expected and there are also more absentee ballots.
The B.C. Election Act lays out specific timelines for the counting of absentee ballots, which won't happen until between May 22 and 24.
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But there's a twist: 176,000 absentee ballots will be counted in two weeks, and Benninger estimates about 1,500 of those are in his riding. A previous version of the story had the Liberal lead at 170 votes.