While many ridings were able to be called with a projected NDP majority on election night, the final vote count of absentee ballots is set to get underway on Friday, taking approximately three days to complete, Elections BC announced Wednesday morning.

Results of the provincial election will be updated starting at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6.

That includes around 5,000 absentee and/or mail-in votes in Boundary Similkameen riding, where NDP candidate Roly Russell was projected to win with 48 per cent of the initial vote count on Oct. 25. Absentee ballots include those cast at electoral offices and ballots cast outside the voter’s electoral district of residence.

“Note that these figures do not represent the final number of absentee and mail-in ballots that will be counted in each district. All certification envelopes must be screened before being accepted for counting to ensure legislated requirements are met, and to prevent multiple voting,” Elections BC stated Wednesday.

Certification envelopes that do not pass screening are set aside and not opened. During the final count of votes, certification envelopes that do not contain ballots or have more than one marked ballot will also be set aside and not counted.

“Candidates and at least one representative per candidate may be present at final count, and must make a solemn declaration of secrecy before observing. Media are not permitted to be present at final count,” Elections BC stated Wednesday.

Russell has been tentative to celebrate in the weeks following Election Day.

“I recognize that it has been called. I still feel a little bit tentative and I’ll be much more comfortable when those results come in,” Russell said on election night.

With the second most votes, Oliver town Coun. Petra Veintimilla received 37 per cent of the initial vote count. She said following initial count she is interested to see the final tally after mail-in ballots are counted.

“However, I’d be surprised if the results change in the end,” Veintimilla said after the initial vote count.

Conservative candidate Darryl Seres also doubted the results in the riding would change following Election Day, calling Russell’s 48 per cent of the vote a “landslide” in the first-past-the-post system.

As final count progresses, a report on the Elections BC website will show the number of certification envelopes that have been considered in each district, and the total number of certification envelopes to be considered. This report will be available once final count begins.