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DJ Kelly officially withdraws request for Ward 4 judicial recount

Ward 4 challenger DJ Kelly’s attempts to unseat incumbent councillor Sean Chu have come to an end.

Kelly, who lost the Oct. 18 municipal election by 100 votes, initiated a recount after the result. Elections Calgary denied the recount request, along with that of Ward 9 candidate Naomi Withers.

That left a judicial recount as the only apparent option.

On Thursday afternoon, Kelly announced a formal withdrawal from the recount process. A Nov. 19 conference with Justice Davidson outlined that a judicial recount wouldn’t be allowed under the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) when voting machines were used over traditional ballots.

““Regardless of whether or not a recount would have changed the outcome of the election, the current law is that in Calgary, and anywhere in Alberta where a machine is used on election day, there is no way to request a recount,” said Kelly, in a prepared statement.

“Our democratic system must be based on trust, and the combination of this section of the LAEA and the choice by the City to use tabulators to achieve a quicker election result means by law no confirmation of election results is possible.”

Resign Sean Chu movement

There are still daily social media reminders that hundreds, if not thousands of Calgarians believe Coun. Sean Chu should resign his seat.

Just prior to, and on the day of the election, local media published stories about Chu’s admitted inappropriate contact with a minor. It also included one involving a domestic dispute in 2008.

These stories didn’t emerge until after the advanced vote. Many believe with such a narrow margin of victory, prior knowledge of these incidents may have swayed the electorate.

Coun. Chu has remained defiant in maintaining his elected position.

“I was duly elected by the people. I intend to stay in this position to serve the people,” Chu said in an Oct. 21 media conference.

Since that time, Chu was censured by fellow Calgary city councillors. He was not appointed to any city committees, commissions or boards. Mayor Jyoti Gondek refused to swear him in as a councillor. 

During the recent budget, Coun. Chu mainly participated in debates on public safety matters.

The province also said there wasn’t anything they could do about it. Mayor Gondek recently said that position came from a weak legal opinion.

Kelly said that this isn’t the end of his public work. He did however offer congratulations to Coun. Chu and said he’d be watching for effective representation.

“As I have before, I will continue to engage our Council to offer support and repudiation when appropriate,” he said.

“My background is in community engagement, I have a history of focusing on transparency and citizen participation projects, and I expect this to, if anything, escalate moving forward. One of my first few projects will undoubtedly be to advocate for changes to the Local Authorities Elections Act so that no candidate in our next election has to experience these issues again.”