‘This isn’t a hockey game’: Peachland mayoral race could be decided by draw

Peachland mayor could be chosen by a draw

Residents of Peachland are in limbo following the election, as they wait to find out who will be the next mayor.

On election night, Harry Gough was declared the unofficial winner by a single vote.

Gough claimed 804 votes — one more than incumbent mayor Cindy Fortin’s 803.

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

But when the votes were verified in the presence of the two mayoral candidates on Monday, the results came out a tie.

The District of Peachland said in a news release that on election day, a voting machine misfed a ballot, jamming the machine.

The incident was documented at the time, said Polly Palmer, the chief election officer.

Both candidates are now calling for a run-off vote.

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But the District of Peachland said there’s no chance of a run-off election.

READ MORE: ‘Blind draw’ could decide Peachland’s mayoralty race

Under Peachland’s bylaws, if the vote is still tied after a judicial recount, the winner would be chosen by the “drawing of lot” at provincial court.

Neither candidate is happy with that.

“It would be disappointing either way because I don’t think that’s the way things should be done. This isn’t a hockey game,” Fortin said.

“I don’t think that’s the way to determine a job that’s so important.”

READ MORE: Former councillor claims mayor’s chair in West Kelowna

Gough said he plans to ask the judicial review for a runoff election.

“If it goes into a hat and you draw it out, you’re 50/50,” Gough said. “How is that a way to settle anything?”

“If anything, there’s a lesson learned here,” he added. “Every vote counts, and you just don’t know when it’s going to be yours.”

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The District of Peachland said a judicial recount must be held within 13 days of voting day, and if the results are still a tie, the draw would happen shortly afterwards.

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