KAMLOOPS — It’s voting day in the Kelowna West riding as residents elect a replacement for former premier Christy Clark who resigned last summer, shortly after a minority New Democratic Party government forced her Liberals from power.
Five people are fighting for the seat, including Liberal Ben Stewart — who won the riding in 2013 but stepped down so Clark could run after she was defeated in her Vancouver-area riding.
Robert Stupka, an engineer and certified passive house designer, is running for the Green party, while Shelley Cook represents the New Democrats, Kyle Geronazzo is running for the Libertarians and Mark Thompson carries the Conservative banner.
Elections BC says about 6,100 — or 13 per cent — of the riding’s nearly 47,000 voters have already cast ballots in advance polls — and just under 41 per cent of eligible voters took part in the last by-election in 2013.
The results of the Kelowna West by-election should begin flowing in after 8 p.m., once the polls have closed and counting will continue until all advance and general voting ballots have been tallied.
Results of this by-election have the potential to further sharpen the razor-thin balance of power held by the Green party-backed minority New Democrat government.
Currently the New Democrats and Liberals each hold 41 seats, the Greens have three seats and there is one independent along with the Kelowna West vacancy in the 87 seat house.
Following tonight’s preliminary count, Elections BC says a final vote count, which will including any absentee ballots, is slated for February 27th.
The Kelowna West riding covers both West Kelowna and downtown Kelowna.
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