January 10, 2019 7:37 pm

New election to be held in Alberni-Clayoquot after 13 votes cast in wrong area

The BC Supreme Court has ruled parts of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District must hold another election after thirteen votes were cast in the wrong area.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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Candidates in two Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District electoral zones will soon be on the campaign trail again, just months after the B.C. municipal election.

The reason? Election officials found that 13 voters from the Beaufort electoral area cast their ballots in Cherry Creek, prompting a B.C. Supreme Court judge to mark the election invalid.

The results were nail-bitingly close to begin with in the tiny district. Beaufort’s successful candidate, Tanya Shannon, won by just 11 votes, while Cherry Creek’s Dianna Bodnar won by just seven.

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One of the erroneous votes was in fact cast by one of the candidates in the election. In her written judgement, Justice Sharon Matthews called this “puzzling.”

The two electoral areas overlap, which might explain why people were confused about where to vote. However, there’s no evidence election officials followed protocol by ensuring the voters had come to the right place.

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Chief Election Officer Wendy Thomson said voters may have been confused by the fact that Beaufort gets its water from Cherry Creek.

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Thomson said this is the first election held in Beaufort in 30 years.

The judgment says no evidence was found of misconduct or deliberate behaviour on the part of those elections officers. The judge ruled the election invalid in both areas, and another one must be held to decide who will hold the positions.

Thomson said there’s no official date set for the new election yet.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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