After months of debates, photo-ops, press releases and petulant Twitter battles, the end is finally in sight. Polls close in just under an hour for Vancouver’s topsy turvy civic election.
Courier reporters and photographers will be out in the field covering the results as they unfold, and we’ll be live blogging the whole shebang below. Join us, won’t you.
Here's Mike Howell's final take on the election of independent mayor Kennedy Stewart. It's been a long night. Thanks for sticking with us. We'll have more analysis in the next few days. Good night.
With the results from the last voting station coming in at 12:43 a.m., it appears that independent candidate Kennedy Stewart will be the new mayor of Vancouver.
Final polling numbers show Stewart with 49,812 votes (28.72 per cent) to the NPA’s Ken Sim at 48,828 (28.15 per cent). Independent Shauna Sylvester came in third with 35,537 votes (20.49 per cent.)
With such a slim victory, no word yet if Sim will ask for a recount. Stay tuned.
More to come…
Read Sandra Thomas's election night story "Vancouver independents fail to make inroads on council, park and school board" HERE.
John Kurucz: "Jen St. Denis just said on Twitter they are Roundhouse and Sunset. Well, then"
John Kurucz: "Apparently the holdup is related to two polling stations with wonky ballot readers. I heard one of them was near Douglas Park, the other in Grandview-Woodland"
Naoibh O'Connor at Green Party HQ: Carr speaking: "My friends, I'm not going to be alone on council anymore." Carr notes that this is the largest caucus of Greens in North America. Calls it a new era of Green and progressive politics in Vancouver.
John Kurucz: "Party supporters smoking weed outside the hotel. Met six metre threshold. All is well."
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: "Candidates sequestered. I asked Hardwick if it was called 'the war room.' 'No. It’s the candidate room. War room sounds too dramatic.'”
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: "Huge cheers through the room. A massive rush to get in front of TVs to see new numbers. Energy in the room has returned."
With 120 of 133 voting stations reporting, Kennedy Stewart’s lead over Ken Sim has shrunk. Yikes.
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: "Sim told Rob [our photographer] that he won't be speaking at 11:15 after all. Not ready to concede."
Naoibh O'Connor at Green Party HQ: "Crowd shouting Pete, Pete, Pete, Pete... as Pete Fry is interviewed on TV."
John Kurucz: "The food is all gone. No seconds have been offered. On to granola. #elxnhaiku"
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: "Mood in the room is far more subdued than it was an hour ago. Fewer people huddled around TVs, some appear to have left altogether. #oldpeople"
John Kurucz: NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim makes an appearance. “I haven’t felt this relaxed in a long time. I feel great.”
Kennedy Stewart supporters cheer as he regains the lead in the mayoral race.
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: Chip Wilson in da house. And yes, he’s wearing yoga pants.
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: Charmaine Crooks, former Olympic athlete, Suzanne Anton in the house. Candidates appear to have been sequestered.
So far, school trustee candidate Allan Wong is the only Vision candidate in the win column, but just barely. #vanelxn18
John Kurucz: Huge cheers as latest numbers show Sim pull ahead
Sandra Thomas: “It’s not over TIL it’s over babe,” campaign manager Sam Monkton to Sarah Blyth.
John Kurucz: "Chicken and coleslaw on a waffle! Decadence, thy name is NPA!"
John Kurucz at NPA HQ: "Overheard in the room: 'I’m not running. By I am a candidate for functional alcoholic of the year.'”
While many wondered if this would be the year that independents made inroads in council. It appears it is not to be.
John Kurucz at NPA election HQ: Council candidate Colleen Hardwick: spent the day canvassing in Kits. Talking points: "People are used to hearing housing affordability is the number one issue and I try to point out that it’s not just housing affordability, it’s affordability period. Whether it’s parking meters, dog licenses, or property taxes, people are straining to be able to afford to live in this city. The key point that was put out by Ken Sim and which I echo is the need for a forensic audit and core review of the city’s finances to get us better in balance."
Hardwick on dealing with stress of election time and lessons learned from when she ran in 2005: "Meditation is always a good place to start. On a normal day I would go rollerblading or get some exercise to get myself grounded, but today wasn’t that day. But I’ve worked in the movie business for a long time so long hours and high stress is something I’m accustomed to."
Naoibh O'Connor: "The Greens are exuberant to say the least, Chanting: Greens, Greens Greens...."
Intial results rolling in:
A more modest spread at independent council candidate Sarah Blyth's election night HQ.
Sandra Thomas: "Sarah Blyth's campaign manager Sam Moncton with her Hip-inspired tats."
Mike Howell: “Kennedy Stewart supporters, including former NDP MLA/MP Ian Waddell (orange tie) gather around TV waiting for first results at Waldorf Hotel
Sandra Thomas: “Sarah Blyth says there’s a kind way of helping people down here besides using the police. She says people are dying at a shocking rate and most people don’t understand it’s not really political but it’s about education.”
“Blyth says whether or not she gets elected many other candidates visited her at the Overdose Prevention Society to learn more about the opioid crisis and she considers that a win.”
Jessica Kerr: “Shauna Sylvester says the election all comes down to the last few hours of voting. ‘It’s that late afternoon, that’s when people decide if they’re going to get out and vote. There were so many people that we pulled that had no intention of voting today and came out to vote. I can count, personally, I pulled 20 people, and those were people I just met on the street that weren’t going to vote.’"
“She also said there was a point in the campaign where she seriously considered stepping back. ‘There was so much pressure on me to step back, so much pressure and there was a group of younger women who said, “You just can’t. What’s the message you’re delivering to us. That’s just not OK.” And we sat down and we went through a little workshop… and walked out of that [thinking] I can’t step back.’”
Naoibh O'Connor at Green election HQ at Creekside Community Centre: "Pete Fry: ‘Feeling good. Feeling exhausted. It's been a long day.’ Fry has been campaigning since 7 a.m. He says he's feeling hopeful. ‘Super positive.’ He's had good feedback from people and the polls. ‘I've been finding myself on a lot of lists for choice candidates and it's been all over the map.’ Pete says two of the party's six values are for participatory democracy and respect for diversity. ‘To us that means we need to cede a majority. Absolute control is not good for government.’ Fry said the Greens want to work on consensus and they believed they've achieved that on school and park board. ‘People are hopeful about the Greens because they think we're the glue that can bind a possibly very fractured council. They see us as a party that's successfully worked with other parties and interests and engaged them.’ Adriane Carr: She's not sorry she didn't run for mayor. She expects the Greens could have an influential role on council. ‘And, the mayor is only one vote.’"
8:50 p.m. Buttons!
Who's got the best button game? We're giving props to OneCity's promo swag. Is Christine Boyle rocking the wood grain?
Independent council candidate Sarah Blyth and a volunteer wait the results.
Mike Howell: "Former Vancouver-East NDP MP Libby Davies at Kennedy Stewart election night HQ"
Mike Howell at the Waldorf (Kennedy Stewart's election party): "Current status."
Jessica Kerr: A steady stream of Shauna Sylvester supporters are packing The Ironworks in Railtown. The mood is upbeat. Sylvester tells the Courier that no matter what the outcome is "we're celebrating. I'm dancing tonight."
Naoibh O'Connor: "Here's the Green Party spread. They're also selling drink tickets for boxed wine. Jackson Triggs.
Every election Courier reporters hold an election pool. Our internal polling is showing: four for NPA's Ken Sim, two for independent Kennedy Stewart and one for independent Shauna Sylvester.
Interestingly, Sylvester is getting most of the love on the Courier's Twitter poll with 46 per cent of the vote, while Stewart is at 28 per cent and Sim is at nine per cent.
Reporter Naoibh O'Connor: "People are still lined to put their ballots in the ballot machine at Creekside. Hard to believe they'll meet 8 pm deadline. One woman just walked in and out in disgust... Turns out doors close at 8 but everyone inside already is good. But I suspect it will take at least until 8:30 or 8:45 for all the ballots to go in the machine.
As with previous elections, Courier city editor Michael Kissinger dons this bespoke hat on election night to harness the power and clear-headedness neeeded to navigate the choppy waters of democracy.
A glimpse at the Courier war room before all hell breaks lose. That's reporter John Kurucz with his outstretched arms, perhaps symbolizing the sacrifice he's making tonight covering the NPA's fortunes instead of watching his beloved Edmonton Oilers.
Volunteers for NPA mayoral candidate are busy working the phones before polls close at 8 p.m. Note the red cups. A tribute to Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup"? Probably not.
Volunteers for independent mayoral candidate make a last ditch effort to get the vote out on Main Street.
Volunteer Lori MacLean attempts to lure the elusive blurry bus passenger vote outside Kennedy Stewart’s campaign office at 12th and Main.