New Brunswick

Kris Austin applies for recount in Fredericton-Grand Lake

The leader of the New Brunswick People's Alliance Party filed papers with the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton on Monday to ask for a judicial recount of the results in Fredericton-Grand Lake riding.

People's Alliance leader lost by 26 votes to Progressive Conservative candidate Pam Lynch

People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin filed papers with the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton on Monday to ask for a judicial recount of the results in Fredericton-Grand Lake riding.

People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin went to the Justice Building in Fredericton on Monday to request a judicial recount of the election results in the Fredericton-Grand Lake riding. Austin finished second by 25 votes in the riding. (CBC)
Austin lost the riding by 26 votes, finishing behind Progressive Conservative Pam Lynch.

Any race decided by 25 or fewer votes is granted a judicial recount without question upon request.

Section 94(3) of the Elections Act states judicial recounts can be granted in races decided by more than 25 votes if a judge can be presented with evidence from a "credible witness" that:

  • An election officer or vote tabulation machine failed to count, improperly counted or improperly rejected any ballots or made an incorrect statement of the number of votes cast for a candidate, or:
  • The resulting officer improperly added up the votes.

Austin said he believes he has grounds to justify a recount.

"One is the fact there was a computer glitch, which is well known, Monday night," he said.

"The second issue is the call-in numbers we received from our scrutineer at the returning office do not add up to the official count. There is about 200-plus votes missing there, which, again, can factor in human error."

Austin said Elections New Brunswick confirmed a woman was mistakenly allowed to vote in Fredericton-Grand Lake riding instead of the riding she lives in.

There is no way of knowing how the woman voted, but Austin said that could potentially lower his margin-of-defeat to 25 votes, which would mean his recount would be automatically granted.

"To me, those three issues should be enough, within reason, for a judge to give that recount. But we'll wait and see," he said.

The applicant for a recount in such a case is required to pay $200 as security for the costs of the winning candidate.

There was confusion with the automatic tabulation of the votes counted on election night, due to a computer programming issue in the system that was being tested for the first time.

However, Elections New Brunswick said its was confident in the technology and on Friday declared the results official.

During the confirmation process, five ballots were discovered that had not been processed through the tabulation machines. None of those ballots were cast in the Fredericton-Grand Lake riding.

The closest race in the province was in Saint John East, which saw Liberal Gary Keating register a win by eight votes over Progressive Conservative Glen Savoie.

The deadline for requesting a judicial recount is Tuesday.

In a related note, Elections New Brunswick says the number of spoiled ballots in 2014 was the lowest percentage of spoiled ballots since 1987.

There were about 1,600 rejected ballots in the 2014 election compared to more than 3,000 in 2010.

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