Memramcook-Tantramar recount could take days
Liberal Bernard LeBlanc and his brother requested recount in riding that could tip balance of power
A judicial recount of more than 8,200 votes cast in Memramcook-Tantramar began Wednesday in a Moncton courtroom but could take days to complete.
Green Party candidate Megan Mitton won by 11 votes in the Sept. 24 provincial election, unseating incumbent Liberal Bernard LeBlanc.
LeBlanc and his brother Don LeBlanc requested the recount. A recount is automatically granted when requested if the margin is within 25 votes.
Mitton received 3,148 votes while LeBlanc received 3,137. Progressive Conservative candidate Etienne Gaudet received 1,518 votes, and NDP candidate Hélène Boudreau 410.
The riding was an important win for the Green Party, which won three ridings across the province. The PCs won 22, Liberals 21 and People's Alliance three, leaving the parties jockeying for power in the week following the vote.
"Since the poll was very close, within 25, I requested it because some residents wanted to make sure all the votes were counted properly and that the machines were good and make sure that these are the votes," LeBlanc told reporters outside the courthouse.
But he said he doesn't necessarily think there was anything amiss with the vote.
"It's a long process," LeBlanc said of how the count was going.
The recount began in Courtroom 12 just before 11 a.m.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brigitte Robichaud held up each ballot, announcing who received the vote and showing it to lawyers for the Liberal and Green candidates.
LeBlanc was the only candidate in the courtroom, while the PCs and NDP were not represented.
Recount could take days
Three boxes with ballots from advance polls were counted by the time the court went on a lunch break at 12:35 p.m.
The recount determined those polls — one with 178 votes, one with 141 and another with 223 — had been correctly counted. There was only one spoiled ballot. The voter had not marked any of the circles beside the names of the candidates.
Each vote took about 10 seconds to count. There were 8,237 votes cast in the riding.
The recount was expected to continue through Wednesday and potentially into Friday. Several boxes containing special ballots were in Saint John for a recount underway in the riding of Saint John Harbour.
Robichaud said those boxes will be shipped to Moncton so they can be counted as soon as the recount in Saint John is complete.
The judge acknowledged it could be a lengthy process.
"If we don't want to spend the long weekend here, we may have to spend a little bit (of time) here this evening," Robichaud said, suggesting the counting may continue beyond 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Elections NB announced a third recount will take place in Oromocto-Lincoln-Fredericton starting Thursday.