Central votes re-tallied twice giving Shaffer two-vote edge

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Runner-up may demand another look

CENTRAL MANITOULIN—The ongoing saga of the ballot results from the October 22 municipal election in Central Manitoulin’s Ward 2 has yet to be resolved as the second count returned the same victors as was found in the first recount, but with different totals from the first two counts.

The election night ballot count saw incumbent Ward 2 candidate Dale Scott easily hold on to his seat with 412 votes, and newcomer John Bisaillon elected as the second of two councillors for the ward with 324 votes to Steve Shaffer’s 322 votes—a difference of two. Council ordered a first recount of the ballots on request of one of the candidates and the second tally reversed the election night score, with Mr. Shaffer coming out ahead by two votes over Mr. Bisaillon’s tally.

In response, Mr. Bisaillon then requested a recount of the ballots and Central Manitoulin council met in a committee of the whole last Tuesday to grant that request. The second tally, conducted on Friday, did uphold the result from the original recount, with Mr. Shaffer again ahead by two numbers, but the result for Mr. Scott was different from the last recount, but again, not in a way that would impact the results. Mr. Scott’s tally in the second recount was 412 votes, the same as the original election night tally.

“I would feel a lot better if they came up with the same numbers at least once,” admitted Mr. Bisaillon, who found himself once again weighing his options. “Right now I think I am going to ask that they recount the ballots once again to see if we can come up with the same number,” he said. “What would you do if you were running a business and the till didn’t balance?” he continued. “You would go back and balance the till.”

Mr. Bisaillon said that he was also now concerned about the way the ballots had been marked, noting that the ballot instructions clearly indicate that electors were to mark their ballots with an “X,” but that some electors had chosen to use a check mark instead. If the tally of only Xs were counted, then Mr. Bisaillon said he believed he once again comes out on top.

“It might be that the only way to resolve this is to go to court,” he said, but he was not ready as of press time Monday to say for certain which way he was leaning on the issue. “I really need to talk this over with my significant other,” he said.

As for Mr. Shaffer, he is waiting for the third shoe to drop.

“It’s kind of like déjà vu all over again,” laughed Mr. Shaffer. “The second recount reaffirmed my election, but now I am waiting to see what other people are going to do.”

The ballot count procedure involves two people recording the vote with one person reading the ballot. Only if both recorders’ tallies come together and match does the counting move on to another box, otherwise the ballots are counted again.