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‘Blind draw’ could decide Peachland’s mayoralty race

It'll be luck of the draw in deciding who'll be mayor of Peachland after two candidates tied for first. Pictured is Harry Gough, who is challenging Cindy Fortin to be mayor. Both finished with 804 votes.
It'll be luck of the draw in deciding who'll be mayor of Peachland after two candidates tied for first. Pictured is Harry Gough, who is challenging Cindy Fortin to be mayor. Both finished with 804 votes. Global News

It likely won’t be a hat, but, rather, a box if it comes down to it.

The decision on who’ll be the mayor of Peachland may be decided by luck of the draw following Saturday’s civic election. That evening, five people were vying to become mayor, with incumbent Cindy Fortin and challenger Harry Gough tying for first with 804 votes apiece.

Originally, the first count had Gough winning with 804 votes to Fortin’s 803. A recount, however, levelled the score.

Now Peachland is applying for a judicial recount following the tie. If it’s still a tie, then it goes to the courts to decide.

READ MORE: Incumbent mayor requests recount after losing by single vote in Peachland

According to a press release from the District of Peachland, “on general voting day, a voting machine miss-fed a ballot, which caused the voting machine to jam. The machine prompted the presiding election official to re-insert the ballot, but before the Official could do so, the miss-fed ballot landed in the sealed ballot box. This was immediately reported to the chief elections officer, who made note of the issue.

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“No other issues were experienced with the voting machines. The preliminary results were announced on Saturday evening, and on Monday the chief elections officer conducted a verification process for the Mayor’s race. This was done because of the closeness of the results – just one vote separated the top two candidates for mayor. The verification process was conducted in the presence of the two top Mayoral candidates and/or their representatives. The verification and ballot accounting process has concluded that there is a tie for the positon of mayor.

“The chief election officer will be applying for a judicial recount of the mayor’s ballot, pursuant to the Local Government Act sections 146 and 148, to determine the results. The judicial recount must be conducted within 13 days after the general election. If a tie is confirmed, the winner must be determined by the drawing of lot, pursuant to the District’s Election Procedures Bylaw No. 2235, which is conducted by the provincial courts.”

READ MORE: B.C. municipal election 2018: Peachland results

According to Peachland Bylaw No. 2235, in the event of a tie after a judicial recount, the tie vote will be resolved by conducting a lot in accordance with Section 151 of the Local Government Act, rather than by election.

Here is Section 151 of the Local Government Act:

Determination of results by lot if tie vote after judicial recount

  1. A local government may, by bylaw, provide that, if at the completion of a judicial recount the results of the election cannot be declared because there is an equality of valid votes for two or more candidates, the results will be determined by lot in accordance with this section rather than by election under section 152.
  2. If a bylaw under subsection (1) applies and there is an equality of votes as described in that subsection, the results of the election are to be determined, as the conclusion of the judicial recount, by lot between those candidates in accordance with the following:
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  • The name of each candidate is to be written on a separate piece of paper, as similar as possible to all other pieces prepared for the determination;
  • The pieces of paper are to be folded in a uniform manner in such a way that the names of the candidates are not visible;
  • The pieces of paper are to be placed in a container that is sufficiently large to allow them to be shaken for the purpose of making their distribution random, and the container is to be shaken for this purpose;
  • The court is to direct a person who is not a candidate or candidate representative to withdraw one paper;
  • The court is to declare elected the candidate whose name is on the paper that was drawn.

There was no word from the District of Peachland as to when the draw will take place.