There were close to 11,000 mail-in ballots in Langley East, and nearly 8,000 in Langley, enough, potentially, to change the outcome of election night, when both New Democrats finished first.
It didn’t happen. Both candidates increased their victory margins once the mail-in ballots were all counted, with Dykeman improving her winning margin from just under 800 to just under 3,000, while Mercier saw his rise from just over 1,500 votes to just under 3,000.
Final results were released on Sunday, Nov. 8, when the final vote figures were announced by Elections BC, which spent three days tabulating mail-in ballots.
Dykeman thanked the voters of Langley East for putting their trust in her.
“I’m grateful,” she told the Langley Advance Times.
During the campaign, Dykeman had an inkling that the riding, traditionally a Liberal stronghold, might be getting ready for a change, based on the “positivity” she encountered while campaigning.
She was disappointed that it had to be done over the phone rather than in-person because of the pandemic.
“I love door-knocking,” Dykeman laughed. “I love it.”
Dykeman was a last-minute candidate, replacing Township councillor Eric Woodward, who first accepted the nomination, then withdrew a day later, citing what he described as “truly horrible, false personal attacks from a small nasty group.”
“It was a very short campaign,” Dykeman observed, a matter of weeks.
She described the wait for the final vote count after election day as “the longest 15 days of my life.”
“It was worth it,” she quickly added.
She intends to step down as chair of the Langley school board, “so I can focus on my duties as an MLA.”
Liberal candidate Kunst had been hoping the mail-in ballots would change the outcome.
“Of course, I’m disapointed,” the Township councillor commented.
“I don’t regret running,” Kunst added. “I wish Megan Dykeman well.”
Following release of the final vote results, Mercier complimented rival candidates Mary Polak, Bill Masse and Shelly Jan.
“I think everybody worked very hard,” Mercier observed.
He described waging a “contactless” campaign to reach voters by phone, social media and newspaper ads.
“My focus was on the issues,” Mercier commented, not on the “horse-race” question of whether he would win.
He considers himself “honoured and humbled” by his election victory, in the community where he grew up and returned to raise a family.
“This is where I was raised,” he noted.
Mercier said he will step down from his current position as executive director of the BC Building Trades Council.
According to the final count posted on the Elections BC website, Dykeman won Langley East for the New Democrats with 42.56 per cent, 13,169 of 30,941 total votes, including mail-in ballots, outpointing Liberal Margaret Kunst, who finished second with 33.56 per cent or 10,385 votes.
Green Cheryl Wiens was third with 11.42 per cent and Conservative Ryan Warawa was close behind, in fourth, with 11.42 per cent.
Libertarian Alex Joehl was fifth with 0.75 per cent and independent Tara Reeve was sixth with 0.63 per cent.
In Langley, Mercier won with 47.17 per cent of 23,508 ballots, or 11,089.
Incumbent Liberal MLA Mary Polak finished second with 8,104 votes and 34.09 per cent, Green candidate Bill Masse was third with 10.5 per cent and Conservative Shelly Jan was third with 8.24 per cent.
Both the Langley-area ridings had been held by Liberal candidates since 1991.