Calgary elections officials have denied four requested recounts after a review was undertaken Thursday.
The four recounts were requested Wednesday, Elections Calgary officials said. They were in Wards 3, 4, 9 and the mayoral race. It was believed that the recounts were happening Thursday, instead they conducted a review of the requests.
Section 98 of the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) outlines the criteria for the scenarios where a recount could be ordered.
In Ward 4, the closest race, Sean Chu won by 52 votes over DJ Kelly. In Ward 9, incumbent Gian-Carlo Carra won by 152 votes over Naomi Withers. In Ward 3, Jasmine Mian won by 2,253 votes and the mayoral race was a narrow 59,000 vote-margin win by Jyoti Gondek.
According to Elections Calgary, there were insufficient grounds for alleging that the result of the vote was inaccurate.
“As a result, all recount requests have been denied and the candidates in those elections have been advised,” the statement read.
Full, official results will be released by Elections Calgary before noon Friday.
Carra wanted to ‘dot the I’s and cross the T’s’
Ward 9 incumbent and councillor-elect, Gian-Carlo Carra, was relieved by the news when reached Thursday evening. He said he had a lot of faith in the tabulator system but was happy to go through the process.
“I assume it took as long as it did because they had to make sure they had a very comprehensive response to the various challenges,” he said.
It was a close race and Carra said he recognizes the need to build bridges with different citizens in his ward.
“I would suggest that there are people who are not fans of mine, who have legitimate concerns and I’m interested in sitting down and working with them,” he said.
The DJ Kelly campaign issued a statement Thursday evening.
“We have heard back this evening from Elections Calgary, and my request for a recount in Ward 4 has been denied,” Kelly wrote in the statement.
“The Local Authorities Elections Act as it is written gives the Returning Officer limited discretion and authority to conduct a recount. As a result, I will begin the process of requesting a judicial recount.”
In an interview afterward, Kelly said he was disappointed with the decision.
“I was really hoping that we would get an opportunity to at least look at the ballots,” Kelly told LiveWire Calgary.
“That wasn’t afforded to us throughout this process. We didn’t get to see a single completed ballot to just double-check its veracity, due to the tabulators that were used.”
At any time within 19 days of the closing of the vote on election day, a candidate can request a judicial recount, according to the LAEA.
The elector may apply to the court by filing an affidavit alleging the returning officer or another officer improperly counted or rejected ballots. There’s a $300 filing fee to cover costs, according to the LAEA.
Withers to continue recount process
Naomi Withers, who requested the recount in Ward 9, said on Twitter she was “shocked & disappointed” they couldn’t get a manual recount of the ballots.
In a statement on the matter, Withers said they don’t fault the election workers who put in the effort to manage this year’s vote. It was the first year they were using a new technology that may have imperfections, she said.
“We were fortunate to have had enough volunteers to serve as scrutineers at all Ward 9 polling stations and have noted a few inconsistencies at some of those locations,” she said.
“We were also contacted by some voters and poll workers, who have brought forward their concerns.”
Withers said they will consider the pursuit of a judicial recount.