Nfld. & Labrador

Here's how the NDP's 5-vote victory in Lab West can lead to a recount

The chief electoral officer must call a recount if the five-vote lead for Jordan Brown over Liberal Graham Letto stands after polling station totals are confirmed Sunday morning.

If margin is still less than 10 after polling stations confirm totals, recount is automatic

Jordan Brown squeaked out the closest win on election night, with a margin of five votes between him and Liberal incumbent Graham Letto. (Jordan Brown/Twitter)

Five ballots tossed in a box in Labrador West are responsible for Jordan Brown having a change of career, and the reigning Liberals being knocked back to a minority government.

Brown, who claimed the seat for NDP on Thursday night, ousted Liberal cabinet minister Graham Letto by a margin of five votes.

It's a margin so slim, it will likely trigger a recount after the results become official.

"I was on the edge of my seat all night and I didn't know which way it would go," Brown told CBC News on Friday. 

Elections NL will spend Sunday going over the results from each poll and making sure there are no discrepancies with the results sent to the returning officers, who in turn sent the results into Elections NL. They will not physically count ballots.

Bruce Chaulk is the chief electoral officer for the province. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Chief Electoral Officer Bruce Chaulk said the process sometimes turns out a difference of a few votes. Any margin fewer than 10 votes triggers an automatic recount.

"It's not uncommon to see minor adjustments," he said. "An addition error that might be one or two votes one way or the other. That's not unexpected and if you go back over history we usually have a couple vote differences somewhere along the way."

My home. I love this place.- Jordan Brown

Brown, meanwhile, said he isn't leaving the edge of his seat until he knows the official results.

He's a welder by trade, a volunteer firefighter, and serves as the heritage director for a local tourism organization.

His passion for Labrador led him to enter the race, he said.

"My home. I love this place. That's all that matters, is my home and my family."

Brown campaigned hard at the doors, and said he found young people who were looking for a change.

"I managed to connect a lot with first-time voters," he said. "People my age and a bit younger. And I think they saw something they wanted. They wanted themselves represented in the House."

NDP have pull in minority government

The race between Brown and Letto was razor thin all night, with Brown overtaking the lead in the final polls. His victory came on the last poll from Wabush, giving the NDP a third seat in the legislature.

"One went to two. Two went to three," Brown said, describing how they were watching the results roll in on CBC. "It put us in an excellent position and it showed that what we had to offer was what people wanted."

NDP Leader Alison Coffin celebrates after winning her seat in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

It also gives the party a bit of muscle. With a minority government, both the Liberals and PCs will be looking to the NDP to get the upper hand in the House of Assembly.

That's good news for Brown, who said he already knows what he wants to get started on.

"I've got a little bit of a shopping list I need to get through," he said. 

Topping that list? Mental health services, senior services and anti-replacement worker legislation. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jacob Barker, Carolyn Stokes, Garrett Barry


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