UPDATE: Recount in Edson election reveals tie, draw decides result
EDMONTON – There were several tight civic races across the province on Monday, leaving some candidates demanding a recount.
In Edson, where there are just six Council seats available, there was also just one vote separating Jim Gomuwka, who took the sixth and final spot on Council with 732 votes, and John Walker, who asked for a recount. Troy Sorensen, who came in eighth place, was not far behind with 729 votes.
A recount was conducted and revealed there was actually a tie for the sixth Council seat in Edson. Therefore, according to the Local Authorities Election Act, a draw was held for the final Council seat. Walker’s name was drawn and fills the final spot on council. The results become official Friday at noon.
Read More: Edson Election Results
The numbers were closest in Ponoka, with only one vote separating mayoral winner Rick Bonnett from his opponent Doug Gill, who received 959 votes.
According to the Town website, a recount confirmed the election night mayoral results.
Meanwhile in Morinville, there was a difference of just two votes between Council candidate Robert Ladouceur and Jacki Luker, who won the sixth and final place on Council with 689 votes. The mayoral race in the town was a close one, as well: Lisa Holmes beat Sheldon Fingler by a mere 18 votes.
Aside from recounts in those close races, a recount was scheduled at Fort Saskatchewan City Hall for the position of Elk Island Public Schools Trustee after an audit of election documentation raised questions about the number of ballots rejected.
The Returning Officer forwarded Global News the following explanation:
When the public school trustee ballots in Fort Saskatchewan were counted, the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) at each polling station completed election documentation to account for all the ballots (as DROs do for all polling stations). Some of the ballots at some polling stations were identified as “rejected” on the ballot accounting form. The accounting form also asks how many of those rejected ballots had no votes on them. It is this space that was left blank on the documentation. Therefore there is some doubt about why the ballots were rejected. It is expected that most, if not all, of the ballots are simply blank. There is no way to be certain about this without physically looking at the ballots.
Due to the total number of public school trustee ballots identified as “rejected” in Fort Saskatchewan Electoral Subdivision No. 1 exceeding the number of votes separating candidate 2 from candidate 3 in our final unofficial results, and because the reasons for these rejections are not completely documented, our two Returning Officers have chosen to conduct a recount. The recount will enable them to re-examine all public school trustee ballots cast in this electoral subdivision, confirm those identified as rejected should have been categorized as such, document the reasons for rejection properly, and recount the votes cast for each of the three candidates.
Ballots can validly be rejected for a number reasons, including an elector voting for more than the maximum number of candidates allowed on that ballot, an elector leaving the ballot completely blank, an elector using marks that do not clearly indicate the intent of the vote, a ballot being damaged in some way rendering it illegible, or an elector putting marks (such as personal initials) on a ballot that could identify the voter.
The final outcome of the public school trustee election in Fort Saskatchewan Electoral Subdivision No. 1 did not change following the recount.
Read More: Fort Saskatchewan Election Results
The race for mayor in Strathcona County was very tight as well, but there will be no recount.