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Court order sought for hand recount

Former town councillor and one-time mayoral candidate Bill Brunton has applied for a court order to conduct a hand recount of ballots for the office of mayor.

Lawyer Eric Gillespie, who also represents the Fort Erie Waterfront Preservation Association, is acting on Brunton’s behalf.

According to a Town notice on Facebook and Twitter, the court date is Friday at 10 a.m. although a subsequent post — not a press release with attribution — states the date is not confirmed.

A recount of the slim election victory by Doug Martin over Ann-Marie Noyes was held last Tuesday with the four-vote margin increasing by one at Noyes’ expense. The recount tally was 4836 for Martin and 4831 for Noyes.

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  1. Dave | Nov 15, 2010 | Reply

    It’s amazing how this bunch can’t admit defeat. I can’t wait for the day that Noyes, Steckley, Brunton, Berry and Papadakis are only a bad memory.

  2. Mike Cloutier | Nov 15, 2010 | Reply

    Although I am tired of the process, I think a hand recount is justified because the first recount found an error in the tabulation with such a small margin.

  3. Dave Renshaw | Nov 15, 2010 | Reply

    I can not believe that the Court will find Brunton’s petition creditable. Will they not give it up? Is this a man versus machine thing or a feeble attempt by the Fort Dreary Group to turn the future of Fort Erie backwards. Talk about a waste of tax payers money!

  4. Sarah | Nov 15, 2010 | Reply

    I think that what Mike said is true! With such a small margin and also with uncounted votes it can go either way!

  5. Steve | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    This could go on for ever
    Martin won the election and after the first recount surprise Martin won again. Enough is enough now suppose a recount is done again and Noyes ends up winning Mayor Martin will surely want a recount give it up people and accept the fact Martin is our Mayor for another five years congratulations Mayor Martin this will be the year we remember that the election never ends…………………………..

  6. Linda | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Mike and Sarah. We need a hand recount. It doesn’t matter who we voted for and supported anymore…there are lingering questions. Who did those 62 people vote for? And would it have made a difference? People need to put themselves in Noyes shoes and think for a second. Would they want to know? After months of campaigning and things being so close, of course they would! This lawsuit is not at the taxpayers expense, so I say, if they want to do it then do it. We will all rest easy knowing the final outcome was brought about in a fair way, and then we will all be able to move on and get on with the business of running this town.

  7. Roki | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    To Linda, those 62 people simply did not vote for a mayor. They probably wanted to vote for Martin, but disagreed with his view on the Bay Beach issue. They absolutely DID NOT vote for Noyes, but I’m thinking right about now, they wish they did vote for Martin.

    For a person to say they ‘care’ about spending money carefully, then hypocritically put their concerns before everyone else and spend tax dollars chasing their own egotistical goals is exactly the type of mayor that 4831 voted for.

  8. Linda | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    How do you know who those 62 people voted for? You really should not make such a bold statement without proof. That is what this court action is being brought forth to find out.
    By the way, this court action is NOT being paid for by the taxpayers. It is being paid for by the person or group who brought the suit.

  9. Mike Cloutier | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Just to clear things up — the expense of a recount will be borne by the taxpayers. The expense of a lawsuit is borne by the people who want to send lawyers to the party plus the taxpayer’s cost of holding court. There are three parties to this process, Brunton who wants the recount, Martin who is satisfied with the result and the Town which has an obligation to defend its position to use the vote tabulating machines and to prevent the additional cost of a hand recount.

  10. Linda | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    I realized my mistake on my last statement and tried to retract and correct it, but, couldn’t. Thanks for clearing that up Mike. It is what I realized then, The original cost is split three ways. But, Do you by any chance know who does the hand recount if it is a go? And if their is a further expense associated with it, and if so, what justifies that expense? Do you also by any chance know what the town justified as a reason the original recount had such a large expense associated with it? Was it the fact that according to the town bylaws an expensive tabulating machine had to be used again and the rental fee was the reason? Perhaps the bylaw needs to be changed if that’s the case since the machine does not seem to have the ability to read some votes, and we now have this new lawsuit due to it. A hand count for a recount in the first place would have stopped this further lawsuit. If it is too late to change the bylaw for this election; which it is; it’s definitely not too late for future elections. Just a thought.

  11. Mike Cloutier | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    According to the Municipal Elections Act, a recount is done in the same manner as the original count. A hand count may be ordered “if the judge who orders a recount under section 58 is of the opinion that the manner in which the original count was conducted caused or contributed to the doubtful result, he or she may, in the order, provide that the recount shall be held in a different manner and specify the manner.”

    In her report to council Nov. 1 when the decision was made to hold a recount, the clerk states the cost was $5,000 to reprogram the memory cards and hire seven vote tabulators (machines, I assume), and incidental costs, not including staff time which she estimated to be 200 hours to prepare and do the count.

  12. Linda | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    I think I understand you to say that 200 hours staff time was not included in that 5000 cost? So, are we to assume that if a hand recount is done by town staff that there is no cost to the taxpayers for the actual recount,excepting lawyers fees of course? Or is this recount done off site and the town will be billed? I am sorry if I am annoying but I really would like to know before I make more incorrect conclusions. There has just been so much (mis)information on facebook, and in various publications it is difficult to sort fact from fiction.

  13. Mike Cloutier | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    What you understand about the costs is what I understand. I don’t know how a hand recount would be conducted — whether by town staff or people hired to do it. I don’t see why it would be done off-site. I also understand that there are a number of recent court cases in Ontario about hand recounts of machine counted votes, but my understanding is that the requests for hand counts have all been denied. Staff time is taxpayer money, so if they spend their time on this, they won’t be spending time on other things.

  14. Mike Cloutier | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    In case anyone is interested, the ward where Noyes lost the one vote in the recount was Ward 5, Crystal Beach.

  15. Toad | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Okay, first of all, I have to say that I am inspired by Linda’s inquisitive questions, and equally impressed with Mike’s knowledge on the protocal of the election process.

    Personally, I think that the mechanical/electronic vote tabulators are perhaps the most accurate means of counting voter’s ballots. I believe that the residents of Thorold had an opportunity this election, on a by-issue, to vote their opinion as to the acceptance of “cyber-voting” for the next election. Not so sure I agree with that one :0(

    However, with the close results with this election, had the votes been counted manually by hand, there would certainly be a lot more accusations of foul play. As I understand it, and correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that some of the ineligible ballots were as the result of the voter circling the candidates name rather than filling in the required oval.

    With that being said, I am sure that the electorial process will continue, with the expected queries in a close race and all will warrant the correct results.

    Linda, yes there is a lot of (mis)information out there, and there will be more yet to come. May I ask, what Facebook page is it that you are referring to.

  16. Linda | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Good point Mike. That is why I commented to you as you tell the facts and give people something to think about without getting emotional and adversarial; unlike a lot of the facebook conversations and blog comments that have been going on lately. In fact, a lot of those have me concerned that this whole election have turned friends against friends. I wish they could just agree to disagree and leave it at that.

  17. Linda | Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Toad, Certainly you may ask. The answer is I am not referring to facebook pages so much as just comments that have been on facebook put there by various people. Of course for you to see the ones I see, you would have to be that persons friend or my friend and since we don’t know who each other are that can’t be ascertained so much…lol.
    My point being that it would be great if this whole thing would just resolve before a lot of people’s friendships dissolve.
    As to accusations of foul play during a hand recount well that is the nature of the beast I guess. But, I’m sure that a plan could be put into place to make sure that could not happen.
    If nothing happens from this whole election and its aftermath but that during the next election people get out and vote and make sure their voice is heard, well at least something good will have come of all this.

  18. Dave | Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    There will be two good things that come out of this. One is Martin will still be our mayor and the other is that Noyes will not. I could also add another and that is Noyes will no longer be on council either!

  19. Chris | Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    This is going to go on, and on, and on……..can you see the bunny banging the drum??

  20. Toad | Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    LOL….Chris :0)

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