Election recounts continue in Saint John, Bathurst
Judges hand counting ballots for ridings of Saint John Harbour, Saint John East, Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou
Three judicial election recounts continued into Thursday evening.
The Saint John Harbour and Saint John East recounts were both being held at the Saint John Law Courts, while the recount for the riding of Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou was being done at the Bathurst courthouse.
The unprecedented number of manual recounts are expected to settle the issue of whether electronic tabulators produced accurate results.
Given the labour-intensive nature of the process, the results may not be available until at least Friday.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Hugh McLellan was sorting through the paper ballots for Saint John Harbour, where Liberal Ed Doherty won with 1,686 votes, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative Carl Killen by 71 votes.
Doherty, Killen, lawyers for the parties and other scrutineers looked on as McLellan arranged the ballots into five piles — one for each of the candidates.
After tallying the advance polls, McLellan found the Elections New Brunswick results were correct for both Doherty and Killen, but were short one vote for the NDP's Gary Stackhouse, bringing his overall total 1,121.
By mid-afternoon, the first three of 12 election day tabulator results for the riding showed one less vote for Green Party candidate Wayne Dryer.
"The accuracy seems to be being played out," said Doherty. "The tabulation machines, their count, seems to coincide with the physical count."
McLellan also discovered a hand-written vote for renowned environmentalist David Suzuki. The ballot was declared spoiled, robbing Suzuki of a sixth place finish.
Justice Thomas Christie was conducting the recount for Saint John East, where Liberal Gary Keating defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative Glen Savoie by only eight votes, according to the Elections New Brunswick results.
"The votes are in the box. I think it's just making sure the results are tabulated correctly," said Savoie, who was observing. "From that, people will get the confidence back in the system."
Early in the day, Christie was sorting through votes cast outside the riding by residents who were travelling. Votes can be cast in any riding and counted at home.
Justice Michel Robichaud was overseeing the recount for Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou, where Progressive Conservative deputy premier Paul Robichaud finished 44 votes behind Liberal Wilfred Roussel in the tally posted by Elections NB.
The defeated Tory candidate was present while Roussel had representatives there on his behalf.
Other than a 15-minute break every hour, no one was being allowed in or out to preserve "concentration and security," the judge said.
The four other recounts are slated for Friday at 9 a.m.
- Charlotte-Campobello, at the Charlotte County courthouse in St. Andrews, with Justice Bruce Noble.
- Carleton-Victoria, at the Woodstock courthouse, with Justice Tracey Deware.
- Fredericton North, at the Fredericton Inn, with Justice Judy Clending.
- Fredericton-Grand Lake, at the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel, with Justice Paulette Garnett.
The Progressive Conservatives had requested six of the recounts, while People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin, who lost in Fredericton-Grand Lake by 26 votes, finishing behind Progressive Conservative Pam Lynch, sought the recount for that riding.
Brian Gallant's Liberals won 27 seats in the Sept. 22 election, compared to 21 seats for the Progressive Conservatives and a single seat for the Green Party.
Elections New Brunswick stands by the results.
Dominion Voting Systems, the company that supplied the electronic tabulators for the provincial election, has said Elections New Brunswick used software that was not "pre-approved," which caused problems in transferring results to media outlets on election night.