NDP's Jordan Brown declared MHA in recount for Labrador West seat
Brown edges out Liberal incumbent Graham Letto with 2-vote margin
After a days-long recount in a St. John's courtroom, NDP newcomer Jordan Brown has been declared the official winner of the Labrador West seat.
His five-vote win over Liberal incumbent Graham Letto on election night has been reduced to just two votes following the recount.
That makes the total vote count 1,364 for Brown, and 1,362 for Letto.
An excited Brown was joined by NDP Leader Alison Coffin, and others, on the steps of Supreme Court in St. John's.
"Finally! Now I can take my seat [in the House of Assembly] which is great," Brown said.
How does he fell about a two-vote victory?
"That was close if there ever was close," Brown said.
The official NDP caucus <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nlpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nlpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/BBseyUiHKd">pic.twitter.com/BBseyUiHKd</a>—@KatieBreenNL
Brown, who said he and Letto have known each other for years, said all three candidates ran a respectful campaign and that was likely why the race ended up so close.
After the final tally was announced, the two men shook hands and hugged each other.
Letto, for his part, said it was a disappointing result, losing by two votes.
"All I will say is that it shows how important it is for people to get out and exercise their democratic right and vote," he told reporters after the official tally was announced.
"We can look back on election night and election day and see all kinds of ways we could have gotten two votes, but nevertheless, that's the way the people of Labrador West have spoken. I respect their decision ... it's not the end of the world and I wish Jordan Brown all the best in his role as MHA for Lab West."
'Human error' and other disputed ballet categories
Lawyers spent the last few days going through all 27 polls from the district.
About 50 ballots had been set aside for further examination as of late Thursday. Those were divided into categories, including "human error" and "unorthodox marks" and "marks in one box."
In the latter category, for example, lawyers for both Brown and Letto sparred over one ballot. Letto's lawyer said the mark on the ballot is clear for his client and that the mark for Brown was inadvertent. The judge counted that vote for Letto.
Judge has a rejected ballot in hand. It’s in two pieces. <br><br>NDP arguing to keep it. Liberal says it should stay rejected. PC says this is a recount. Therefore we shouldn’t be considering the election night decision to reject. Thinks it should be valid. <br><br>Judge: this is a tough one—@KatieBreenNL
That kind of debate is happening for all of the ballots that had been set aside, and the judge has decided that all of the disputed ballots will be dealt with continuously, with no break in the proceedings.
With files from Katie Breen