Nova Scotia

3 defeated Nova Scotia candidates seek vote recount

Two Tories and one New Democrat have filed for a judicial recount.

2 Tories, 1 New Democrat have filed for a judicial recount

The deadline to seek a recount was end of day Monday. (CBC)

Three defeated candidates in Nova Scotia's May 30 provincial  election have filed for a judicial recount: two Tories and one New Democrat.

The deadline to seek a recount was end of day Monday.

In the riding of Chester-St. Margaret's, New Democrat Denise Peterson-Rafuse lost by 90 votes to Liberal Hugh MacKay when votes from the last poll were counted. She applied for a recount on Friday.

The NDP said Peterson-Rafuse would not be interviewed Monday.

Progressive Conservative candidate Dan McNaughton was defeated by Liberal Bill Horne in Waverley-Fall River-Beaverbank. The difference was 66 votes.

In Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, PC candidate Rob Wolf is also seeking a recount after losing by 71 votes to Liberal cabinet minister Lloyd Hines.

Both the PCs and NDP said no dates have been set for the recounts.

Closest result not challenged 

Meanwhile longtime Liberal Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Michel Samson —  who lost by the narrowest margin on election night to Progressive Conservative Alana Paon — has chosen not to seek a recount.

"On election night I accepted the fact that the PC candidate had secured more votes than we had and called to congratulate her," Samson said in a statement released by the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.

"After the official addition on June 1, the margin of victory remains at 21 votes. I met with my campaign team Sunday night and they unanimously supported my decision not to seek a judicial recount."

Samson represented the eastern Cape Breton riding since 1998 and was the longest continuously serving MLA in the legislature.

In a statement he thanked his family, campaign team, colleagues and Premier Stephen McNeil.

"While I realize many will be disappointed in my decision not to seek a judicial recount, I ask that they accept the results and allow our new MLA to represent our riding."

NDP concerned about out-of-district ballots

In Chester-St. Margaret's, NDP spokesman John McCracken said the party may also have questions about the counting of ballots cast outside the riding.

"We found out at 12:15 a.m. that there were 800 out-of-district ballots that hadn't been factored in yet and we didn't even know about them. Those were a surprise to us. We thought we had counted all the continuous and advanced ballots in the riding," McCracken told CBC News.

McCracken said the NDP were told the ballots were going to be counted in the riding but instead they were counted in Halifax.

A spokesperson for the provincial NDP campaign said the party was aware votes were being counted outside the district and McCracken's comments only reflected the Chester St. Margaret's campaign's position.

"This was information provided by the local Returning Officer to the local campaign. The NDP was aware that all 51 continuous polls would be counted centrally in Halifax and did provide scrutineering," Kaley Kennedy wrote via email Monday evening.

'It's a significant amount of votes'

"The campaign had no involvement in that balloting process and that was 10 per cent of the entire ballots cast. So it's a significant amount of votes. It's a new process. There are new changes to the act," he said.

"We want to make sure that nothing that was done that night was a contravention of the act."

McCracken said that review will take place over the next 30 days.

Elections Nova Scotia spokesperson Andy Leblanc responded to McCracken's concerns in an emailed statement to CBC News.

"Elections Nova Scotia advised every party [and] invited them to provide scrutineers for the out-of-district processes, including sorting, verification of write-in ballot applications, removal of outer envelopes and counting of ballots," he wrote.

"Scrutineers and witnesses were present at [Elections Nova Scotia] HQ to witness some of those processes on May 30."

About the Author

Paul Withers

Reporter

Paul Withers is an award-winning journalist whose career started in the 1970s as a cartoonist. He has been covering Nova Scotia politics for more than 20 years.

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