Recount in deputy mayor race produces the same result

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The recount for the deputy mayor’s position was completed last Wednesday and it reflected the results that originally came in on election night.

Leo Meloche retained the position as the recount came back with 2,579 votes, the same as in the Oct. 22 election. Diane Pouget came in second with 2,575 votes, which is also the same total as Oct. 22. The recount was held last Wednesday in the upstairs community room at the Libro Centre and was completed by mid-afternoon.

“The recount went smoothly,” said clerk/returning officer Paula Parker.

Parker confirmed the results were exactly the same as election night. She said Pouget was in attendance as were ten scrutineers and her legal counsel on her behalf. Parker said Meloche was not represented. Deputy mayor candidate Bob Rozankovic was also in attendance as was a scrutineer for Rick Fryer, Parker added.

The Municipal Elections Act states that no one shall examine the ballots as they are being counted, however, Parker noted they were provided an opportunity to confirm the ballot boxes were empty, confirm totals on the machines and confirm the ballot boxes were sealed. Pouget’s legal counsel and Fryer’s scrutineer were also given the opportunity to examine the spoiled ballots as well. All candidates have the opportunity to appeal the process for disputed ballots to the Superior Court within 15 days, she added last Wednesday.

Meloche said he didn’t believe there was a need for a recount as he thought it would end up being the same result.

Councillor Diane Pouget speaks to town council Nov. 13. The recount into the deputy mayor’s race, requested that night by Pouget, produced the same result.

“When Paula told me there would be a recount based on the motion put forth Nov. 13, I had a dialogue with her and I had a right to be there,” said Meloche, “but like I told her, I didn’t want to delay it any further and told her to proceed with me or without me.”

Meloche said he was relieved from the standpoint that “I want this to go away so we can get the business of the town back on track.” He said he wants the town to move ahead and that he was always comfortable with the “computerized vote,” in reference to the electronic tabulators employed by the town.

“I was confident the vote that happened Oct. 22 would be the same as Nov. 21,” said Meloche.

There were concerns over cost, said Meloche, given there was an estimated cost of $25,000 for the recount. Meloche also pointed out that provincial legislation calls for a recount only in the event of a tie or if the matter is taken to Superior Court.
“My biggest concern was the $25,000 cost that was not necessary for the taxpayers,” said Meloche.

Pouget took offense to comments made on Facebook regarding the recount, but said she was also offended to the response by Meloche to the post and comments made regarding the Nov. 13 council meeting, where she asked for a recount.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Pouget told Meloche Monday night.

Meloche said he has apologized for his reaction to the original post, and he posted on Facebook “Apparently a comment I made to a post made by another individual was found to be offensive by some. It was in no way intended to be offensive but none the less I should not have provided a comment.”

Meloche said he will not apologize for his belief on what happened at the Nov. 13 meeting.

“My lawyer was appalled by what happened here on the 13th,” said Meloche. “I make no apologies for what happened on the 13th, not at all.”

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