POLITICS

Elections BC applies for judicial recount in one Vancouver-area riding

05/28/2013 06:58 EDT | Updated 07/28/2013 05:12 EDT
VICTORIA - Elections BC says it will apply to the province's Supreme Court for a judicial recount after the final tally of ballots reversed the outcome in the Coquitlam-Maillardville riding, putting the NDP candidate ahead of the Liberal by only 35 votes.

At the end of election night May 14, Liberal Steve Kim was declared the winner, but the official final count began Monday and includes absentee ballots.

Results posted on Elections BC's website Tuesday indicate the NDP's Selina Robinson is now ahead, prompting the district electoral officer to apply for a judicial recount because the difference between the top two candidates is less than 0.2 per cent of the ballots.

The organization that runs elections in the province said the threshold for calling a judicial recount in the riding is 43 votes.

"The judicial recount actually does two things," said Prof. Doug McArthur of Simon Fraser University's school of public policy.

"It makes sure the count itself is accurate. So they want to be certain their count is accurate for greater certainty, and then it also is this process they want to make sure that it is a sustainable outcome."

McArthur said that in some cases, especially when only five or 10 votes separate the candidates, a judge can even order a byelection because it's not hard for the losing candidate to find a handful of voters who have been disqualified and shouldn't have voted.

In such a case, candidates will actually employ teams to go through voters' lists with a "fine-tooth comb" to find people who should have been disqualified, and in other cases, some voters will contact officials to say they shouldn't have cast a ballot, he said.

McArthur said either scenario is unlikely to happen in Coquitlam-Maillardville because it will be hard to find 35 or more voters who shouldn't have voted.

Meantime, the final count is now complete in Vancouver Point-Grey, where Premier Christy Clark lost to the NDP's David Eby by just over 1,000 votes.

According to Elections BC, the final count for all of the province's 85 ridings is scheduled to end Wednesday.