NEWS

Eastern Townships ballot recount finds error

09/14/2012 09:18 EDT | Updated 11/14/2012 05:12 EST
Officials have begun re-counting the ballots in a key riding for the Parti Québeécois in the Eastern Townships.

A Quebec Court judge granted a request Tuesday for a recount in the electoral district of Saint-François, where the PQ's Réjean Hébert defeated Liberal candidate Nathalie Goguen by just 110 votes last week.

Goguen's application for a recount says she believes some ballots were improperly rejected while others that were counted shouldn't have been.

Officials have found one error — a ballot box where an extra 50 votes were attributed to Hébert, according to chief returning officer Marjorie Tyroler.

"What we can say is there has been absolutely no foul play discovered, just basically human error," she said. "In the interest of democracy, we're working very hard to just make sure it's OK. And the judge himself is checking everything."

Hébert is the former dean of medicine at the University of Sherbrooke and has been touted as a possible health minister in a PQ cabinet. The recount is expected to take several days.

In La Prairie, the defeated PQ candidate has also sought and won the right to a judicial recount of the ballots.

Pierre Langlois lost that riding to Coalition Avenir Québec candidate Stéphane Le Bouyonnec by 81 votes.

According to Quebec's Elections Act, any candidate who comes in second can apply for a judicial recount if, " the majority is not over one-thousandth of the votes cast."

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