Monday, February 06, 2006

Still more on Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

From the CBC:
Judge orders recount in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

A Saskatchewan judge has ordered a recount in a northern Saskatchewan riding where the win was decided by 73 votes.

The recount will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Prince Albert's Queen's Bench courthouse, Justice Allisen Rothery ordered Monday.

Liberal Gary Merasty beat incumbent Conservative Jeremy Harrison in the riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in the Jan. 23 federal election.

Harrison has alleged a variety of electorial irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing.

However, during arguments in court Friday, his lawyer James Rybchuk focused on alleged adding errors at several polling stations.

He said case of a booth where returning officers counted 74 ballots when only 73 were cast is representative of the problem.
Gary Merasty's lawyer Tiffany Paulsen said Rybchuk's assessment is incorrect. She also said the supposed errors Rybchuk raised weren't supported by the documents.
I guess those allegations of ballot-box stuffing were not serious enough to actually mention in court.

Update. From the Star Phoenix:
A Queen's Bench judge has ordered a judicial recount of the federal election results for a northern Saskatchewan riding.

Justice Allisen Rothery released her decision Monday, after hearing an application on Friday from a trio of "electors" seeking the recount for the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River. It will take place in Prince Albert on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Despite the order, Rothery actually struck down the affidavits of two of the applicants and indicated there is no evidence to back most of the claims of the third. However, upon reviewing the official statement of the vote, submitted by the returning officers, she found a deputy returning officer incorrectly counted some ballots. Spoiled ballots and unused ballots are to be counted and placed in a sealed envelope. Rothery found some unused ballots were not counted. Because of that evidence, not the claims made by the applicants, Rothery concluded she "must grant the application for a recount."

The applicants had claimed the deputy returning officer wrongly rejected some ballots, incorrectly counted some votes, and wrote down an incorrect number of votes cast for one candidate (it didn't specify which candidate). [snip]

The legal action for the recount was launched by "a group of electors" from the riding, according to a Conservative party news release. However, the three people listed as the applicants -- Arlene Kolosky, Dustin Pike, Ron Dosdoll -- are all closely tied to Harrison's campaign.

Dosdoll is Harrison's campaign manager, Pike is Harrison's official agent and Kolosky represented Harrison at the validation process conducted by Elections Canada.

Merasty is seeking costs against the applicants of the action "for filing irrelevant material in their affidavits," according to Rothery's order, in which she has reserved that decision.
Again, none of the allegations of ballot-box stuffing were actually brought before the court and the specific items that were raised were dismissed.

Update 2 CTV reports that the recount has started and will take a couple days.

Update 3 CBC reports that the counting is continuing.

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