Another request for recount goes to Central councillors

CENTRAL MANITOULIN—Following last week’s recount that overturned the October 22 result of the Ward 2 election for municipal councillor that first saw candidate John Bisaillon winning by a two-vote margin over candidate Steve Shaffer and resulted in a complete reversal of the earlier result, with candidate Steve Shaffer winning the seat by the same two-vote margin, council will consider a request for yet another recount at its next council meeting.

“I have sent a request for another recount of the ballots to (Central Manitoulin) CAO Ruth Frawley,” said Mr. Bisaillon on Monday of this week. He had indicated following last week’s recount that he was going to consider his options until Monday. Mr. Bisaillon noted that this course of action has been suggested by a number of people who have approached him. “I don’t think there is anything not on the up and up. To be clear, I don’t believe there were any irregularities involved,” he said. “But if the first count was wrong I think I would be more comfortable with another recount to be sure the second count was, in fact, accurate.”

There was also a changed result in the recount in Ward 1 ordered by council last week. In the recount conducted on Monday, the tally for Ward 1 candidate Angela Johnston dropped by one vote to 179 votes and the tally for candidate David Gilchrist increased by one to 113 votes. The tally for incumbent councillor Derek Stephens remained the same at 180 votes. The end result was that there was no change in the candidates elected.

There remains a single vacancy on council for Ward 3. Incumbent Councillor Linda Farquhar was acclaimed to her position, but no candidate stepped forward for the second councillor position.

It will be up to Central Manitoulin council to determine how that seat will be filled.

The seat must be filled unless a vacancy occurs within 90 days of a new election date.

According to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 “requires an automatic recount only if the votes are tied. Your municipal council or school board may have a policy that sets out other reasons for an automatic recount. If you feel there should be a recount, and the rules for an automatic recount don’t apply, you can ask the municipal council or school board to order a recount. Any recounts must be ordered within 30 days after the clerk has declared the results of the election.

If you are an eligible voter, you can also apply to the Superior Court of Justice to ask a judge to order a recount. Recounts must be done the same way that the votes were originally counted, unless the recount is ordered by the court. For example, if the votes were counted by a vote tabulator, they may not be counted by hand during the recount. If a recount is ordered by the court, the judge may order that the votes be counted in a different manner if the judge believes that the way the votes were counted the first time was an issue.”

Municipal councils may have a procedural bylaw in place that determines how vacancies are filled.

According to the regulations set out on the Municipal Affairs website, “a vacant seat can be filled either by appointing someone who is qualified or by holding a by-election. If a council or board decides to fill a vacancy by appointment, they must appoint a person who is eligible to serve on the council or board and who is willing to accept the appointment. The legislation does not set out any other criteria. It is up to the council or board to determine how they will decide who to appoint. Different approaches include: appointing the candidate who came second in the regular election, inviting interested persons to apply for the position or offering the appointment to a member of the community. Sometimes councils or boards want to put additional restrictions on appointees, such as requiring that an appointee agrees not to run in the next regular election. While a council or board may set this as a condition for appointment, there is nothing in provincial legislation that would prevent someone who was appointed from running in the next election.”

As for Mr. Bisaillon, he said that he was going to see how things play out before deciding if, or how, he will proceed.