Green candidate for Kootenay East, Kerri Wall (centre) voted in Fernie on Oct. 24 along with her son and his girlfriend. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

With polls closed, BC Greens candidate Kerri Wall reflects on the campaign that was

Wall said she was settling in for a long wait until full results were known, and wished the BC Liberal and BC NDP candidates good luck

Polls have now closed in Kootenay East and in ridings across British Columbia, with the snap campaign in the snap election wrapping up.

It’s been a very different campaign thanks to the pandemic, with candidates across the province forgoing traditional staples of campaigning – and traditional staples of election night.

BC Greens candidate for Kootenay East and Fernie local, Kerri Wall, will be watching the results come in on Saturday night online with no election party to speak of, but she said that for her own campaign and the BC Greens across the province it wasn’t such a big deal.

“I’ll tune in, see what happens, it may be the kind of thing where I’ll tune out after a little while because nothing’s happening,” she joked.

Within the hour of polls closing, the BC Greens were ahead in 6 seats across BC, with Wall capturing 11 percent of the first counted votes in Kootenay East.

‘Things are looking good for me so far,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect, it’s still early.

“And for the Greens leading in six ridings last I looked makes me feel very optimistic.”

Vote counting will be much slower in 2020 than it has been in previous years, with mail-in ballots not counted until weeks after, and a huge swathe of the province opting to vote early.

Given that in Kootenay East turnout in 2017 was roughly 55 percent of eligible voters, and about a third of all eligible voters in the riding have already voted early or will by mail – election day results won’t be holding as much weight as years past.

The complete results are unlikely to be known until well into November – something Wall said didn’t bother her one bit.

“I personally don’t have excitement or nervousness about it – I’m happy to be patient and wait to see what happens,” she said.

“I am used to having patience with government,” she added, explaining her experience working with Interior Health and municipal-level governments.

With the campaign wrapped up and only vote counting and waiting left to go, Wall said that voters in Kootenay East had responded warmly to having a Green candidate running in the riding, which has been held by the BC Liberals since 2001.

“I’ve heard people say they’re really glad that I stepped up to offer a difference from what I’d call the usual suspects, to bring a little more democracy to the race.”

When asked about her interactions with the two other candidates and her impact on the campaign, Wall said it was hard to say how much of a difference she made given they were so focused on each other.

“I know that in the forums the two of them have sort of been poking at each other, acting as if they’re playing a traditional game, where they have to compete with each other.

“I know that the Green party traditionally has not had much of a presence in this riding, and they may have thought they could dismiss me. – It’s hard to tell how much of an impact I had on them because they were very focused on each other.”

Nonetheless, Wall said she wished both of them good luck now the campaign was wrapped up.

“I have worked with both of them before in our different government roles. I feel very friendly towards the two of them, I believe both of them have been working in politics because they care so much about their constituents.

“For me its been an interesting, friendly, democratic race and I definitely wish them both good luck.”

Wall said that besides running her own local campaign in Kootenay East, she had been spending time campaigning on behalf of Green candidates throughout BC.

“I am really working on behalf of the BC Greens everywhere. I know I may not have a big presence here, but I believe the Green movement is super important and so I’ve been pushing on behalf of the party as a whole, so I am really excited to see how it turns out with the election results – when we get them.”

READ MORE: Voting day: Elk Valley braves the cold to vote for next MLA
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