Election officials in a room at Evergreen Hall Thursday morning prepare for a judicial recount into the Oct. 20 Chilliwack school board election. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress).

Only one vote of 24,700 ballots changes after Chilliwack school board election recount

Jared Mumford retains seventh and final seat after two-day process started by eighth place candidate

The long and complicated judicial recount of the Chilliwack school board election finally ended Friday evening and nothing changed.

After two days of more than 15 election officials recounting nearly 25,000 ballots, all overseen by lawyers and a provincial court judge, attended by numerous candidates, just one vote changed for the two parties in question.

Jared Mumford retains the seventh seat on the school board that he won on election night with Kaethe Jones finishing in eighth.

• READ MORE: Judge orders official recount of ballots in Chilliwack school board election

It was Jones who applied to the court for a recount after she finished with 7,011 votes in the Oct. 20 vote, just 34 votes behind Mumford’s 7,045. After the recount Mumford is declared to have finished with 7,044 votes, 33 ahead of Jones’ 7,011.

Two ballots counted at the Sardis poll on election night seemed to have gone missing, were not counted in the recount, and that led to the one vote for Mumford being taken away from his total.

Only four other out of the 24,700 ballots were viewed differently during the recount than on election night. One rejected ballot was accepted leading to one more vote for Kelly Janveux; one vote had been rejected for Heather Maahs that the judge accepted; and one vote each for Sylvia Dyck and Barry Neufeld that a machine accepted were rejected in the recount.

Part of what led to the application for the recount was confusion over why Mumford’s preliminary vote total on election note was actually 80 votes higher than the final audited results. Before the recount, however, chief election officer Carol Friesen attributed the discrepancy to officials at a polling station misreading a zero for an eight while calling in preliminary results.

Affidavits from scrutineers for Jones’ fellow candidate Barry Neufeld claimed improprieties at various voting places. One in particular alleged a discrepancy at a voting machine at Promontory Heights elementary after a power surge that followed an outage in the area on election day.

But in the end, the ballots received and approved by election officials on election day almost precisely matched those same ballots going through the same machines under the scrutiny of a judge.

“The only change in the vote between the election count and this vote that related to the two candidates was the fact that Mr. Mumford had one fewer vote,” Ormiston read in her decision. “That is because it seem two ballots from the Sardis poll were not counted.”

Election officials, sheriffs, candidates and supporters arrived at Evergreen Hall before 10 a.m. on Thursday to prepare for the count. In addition to Mumford and Jones, other school board election candidates in attendance for all or some of the day included Michael Prill, Dan Coulter, Willow Reichelt, David Swankey, Meghan Reid, Heather Maahs and Barry Neufeld.

Mid-way through the afternoon Friday there was a possibility it would all end as Mumford’s lawyer made a motion to stop the proceedings, arguing that the result was unlikely to have a material difference on the outcome. After officials had recounted approximately two thirds of the ballots, the difference between Mumford and Jones had changed by just one vote, from 34 to 33.

Jones did not oppose that motion, but Judge Andrea Ormiston ruled that the counting should continue considering how far along it had already proceeded.

In rendering her decision, Ormiston pointed to the length of time discussing process it took leading up to even start recounting the ballots on Thursday.

“When we started this judicial recount we spent a lot of time talking about process and it was exhausting, and it may have seemed unnecessary,” she said. “But it is the care that we put in the process that makes me totally confident in the decision that we arrive at today.”

This wasn’t the only recount of the day in the local area. Friday morning a judicial recount for the FVRD’s Electoral Area C director position ended in a tie and a drawing of lots. In the end, Wendy Bales prevailed over Annie Silver.

• READ MORE: Wendy Bales elected FVRD Area C director in a 50/50 draw


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Council votes to give Chilliwack homeless shelter an 18-month extension

There were more than 40 passionate speakers at city hall who had their say for more than four hours

Chilliwack woman finds mysterious coin among Grandma’s collection

Grandmother died when she was very young and her past is not well known to her mother

VIDEO: Chilliwack musician is embracing the revival of the accordion

Accordionist Debra Kartz has seen the instrument become popular again and wants to inspire the next generation

Time to specify where Chilliwack spending priorities should be

It’s that time of year again when City of Chilliwack engages its citizens to weigh in on budgeting

Fantasy Farms told to stop holding special events on farmland that go against agricultural rules

The Morans say it might spell the end of their seasonal events like Reapers Haunted Attractions

VIDEO: B.C. man’s yard comes alive with grizzlies at night

Malakwa man has captured images of 12 different grizzlies on video

Man who orchestrated Mission murders gets day parole after serving less than three years

Victims’ parents express grief, outrage over parole board decision

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

Most Read