A judicial recount carried out today by provincial court judge Robert Hyslop has upheld the outcome of the Sept. 24 election for mayor in Spaniard's Bay.
© Photo by Terry Roberts
Provincial court judge Robert Hyslop (right) is seen counting the Spaniard's Bay mayoral votes on Wednesday, Oct. 2. At left is returning officer Tony Ryan.
A judicial recount carried out today by provincial court judge Robert Hyslop has upheld the outcome of the Sept. 24 election for mayor in Spaniard's Bay, though Wayne Smith's margin of victory shrunk slightly, from 12 to nine.
Hyslop began the recount shortly before noon, with about a dozen people in the courtroom in Harbour Grace following the proceedings, including Smith and Brenda Seymour, the two contestants for mayor. Both previously served as town councillors, and challenged for the top elected post following the retirement of longtime mayor John Drover.
After more than three hours of counting, Hyslop determined that Smith received the support of 606 voters, while Seymour was close behind with 597.
The election night results were 607-595 in favour of Smith.
Under the Municipal Elections Act, a recount can be triggered by the municipality if the margin of victory is 10 or lower.
Seymour's margin of defeat was 12 votes, so she took her case to the provincial court, where Hyslop agreed to undertake a recount, at no cost to the candidate or the town.
Seymour complained that "whiteout" was used to conceal information on statements from a polling station in Tilton, and that new information was written on the documents. She also complained that results from some polling stations were released publicly after information was relayed by telephone, instead of waiting to receive the official polling statements.
And when the ballot boxes were delivered to the courthouse on Wednesday, Seymour alleged that some of the boxes were "compromised," and appeared to have been opened.
Hyslop said he would take her complaints into consideration, but said the recount "would be the end of it, unless there is some evidence that is out of the ballpark."
Hyslop will later forward a written report to the town's returning officer, town clerk/manager Tony Ryan.
Seymour's complaints about the Tilton polling station were compelling, since her support dropped sharply in that community, allowing Smith to earn a majority.
In Spaniard's Bay, Seymour edged Smith by more than two dozen votes, while Smith surged ahead in Tilton.
The newly elected council is scheduled to be sworn in on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to Smith, the council includes incumbents Tony Menchions, Tony Dominix, Sheri Collins and Eric D. Jewer, and newcomers Lewis E. Sheppard and Paul Brazil.