Liberal Dwight Ball has been declared the official winner of a western Newfoundland byelection after a judicial recount of votes this week.

Ball beat Progressive Conservative candidate Darryl Kelly in Humber Valley district by seven votes, provincial Supreme Court Judge Allan Seaborn ruled Friday.

Ball had initially been declared the winner of the Feb. 12 byelection by nine votes, but under the Elections Act, the chief electoral officer must apply for a recount if there is a margin of victory of 10 votes or fewer.

Seaborn, when he announced the results in Corner Brook, said two of the nine original deciding ballots were thrown out because it was decided they could lead to the identification of a voter. More than 4,400 ballots were cast.

Ball said Friday immediately after the announcement he is ready to get to work as an MHA.

"There have been certainly some constituency issues and some community issues that we've received some calls for in the last couple of weeks and we've been working on that already," he said.

"But we can now let the work begin and we need to get the office setup and get some support in place. And I'm really getting eager to get to work."

Ball said he has already organized meetings with community groups throughout the district to find out the needs of his new constituents.

Tory resigned

The recount, which began Thursday, took place at the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in Corner Brook.

The byelection was called to fill a vacancy created in January by the resignation of Tory backbencher Kathy Goudie, who said she quit in part because of stress caused by a report on double-billings of her constituency allowance.

The byelection had several twists and turns in its results.

First, a counting error election night involving 30 votes had Kelly briefly thinking he had won the byelection by a 12-vote margin.

Then, a counting correction put Ball in the lead by 18 votes, according to the unofficial count released the night of the byelection.

Three days later, an official count dropped Ball's margin of victory to nine votes. That triggered chief electoral officer Chuck Furey to order the recount.

Five byelections have been scheduled in Newfoundland and Labrador this winter. The governing Tories swept three byelections Feb. 8. A byelection is set for Labrador West March 13.