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Recount sought in Calgary’s tight Ward 4 race between Chu and Kelly

At the end of Monday night, Sean Chu held a significant 700-plus vote lead over Ward 4 challenger DJ Kelly. 

Still, two of the polls hadn’t yet reported.  That was the result through the night and early into Tuesday morning.

LiveWire Calgary had received word late last night through the campaign that one of the absent polling stations was located in Winston Heights. This is the community where Kelly resided and where he was president of the community association. The other Ward 4 station was in Dalhousie.

In the case of the Winston Heights tabulator, the city said it came down to a power supply issue. The power cord for the tabulator wasn’t secure, they said, resulting in a draw on the battery power.

They used the auxiliary slot until the power cord was resecured, the city said. The ballot box, however, wasn’t properly constructed earlier in the day. If that happens, and the auxiliary slot is used, the city said there’s potential for unprocessed and processed ballots to be mixed.

They shut down the tabulator and securely delivered the ballots to the Elections Calgary counting centre. There, they were counted with a high-speed tabulator.

Two other stations (including the Dalhousie one and one remaining in the Ward 1 race) had an issue with the memory sticks holding the vote data. Those results were also re-tabulated on Monday.

The results are in?

After the votes were retabulated, Chu still held a 52-vote lead over Kelly.

According to Elections Calgary’s website, there’s no specific recourse in the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) to request a recount based on a narrow margin. There must be a reasonable objection on ballots cast or spoiled.


Still, DJ Kelly said Monday that they’re in the process of requesting a recount.

“It makes sense that we automatically go for a recount when the numbers are that close,” Kelly told LiveWire Calgary.

They didn’t have any evidence of irregularities with the tabulators. Some had posted concerns on social media through the day.

“But because this is the first time we’ve used the machines in an election, especially one that’s as close as 52 votes, we definitely think it’s a wise thing to be able to do a hand recount.”

A call was made to the Sean Chu campaign for a comment, but there was no response. This was posted to his website after the polls closed Monday.

“Thank you to every resident of Ward 4 who came out to vote in this important Election [sic],” the message read.

“It has been my honour to serve every resident of Ward 4 since 2013, and it will be my honour again if tonight the voters of Ward 4 choose me to be their voice at City Council.”

Chu is embroiled in controversy after an initial CBC story outlining disciplinary action taken against him related to a 1997 incident involving a 16-year-old girl.  CTV Calgary followed that up with more reporting on the story and new documents on the file.

Kelly said that a resignation, given the circumstances, was entirely up to Chu.

“I don’t get to make the decision in terms of whether he thinks he’s fit for office or not, that’s between him and the electorate,” Kelly said.

“And the electorate, as of right now, has 52 people more than me have said that he is fit to serve.”

Premier Kenney, Minister McIver respond to Chu victory

Both Premier Kenney and Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver said they’d only seen summaries of the Chu stories. Premier Kenney said allegations of this nature must be taken seriously. He added that sexual impropriety with a minor is “appalling” and if the misconduct is from someone in a position of power, like a police officer it’s a serious matter.

“Clearly there are serious issues that need to be answered fully and transparently about what happened, about what legal criminal or disciplinary measures were taken,” the Premier said.

“And if there was a failure in the system we need to know what that was.”

When asked if Chu should resign, Premier Kenney said that if the allegations are proven true, then yes.

Minister McIver agreed with the Premier.

“If the worst of the allegations turned out to be true then yes, you should resign,” McIver said.

“But we still need to do our due diligence and find out what the facts are, but direct answer your question is, if the worst of the accusations are true, then yes.”