Judge dismisses Chiew Chong’s court challenge of municipal election results

A judge has dismissed a civil motion challenging last October's election results filed by candidate Chiew Chong.

The motion was dismissed by Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Herbert Rempel after a hearing in Winnipeg Feb. 19.

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Chong and fellow candidate Andre Proulx received the same number of votes for the eighth and final seat on council on election day Oct. 24.

Chong and the City of Thompson, against whom the motion was filed, were both ordered to pay their own legal costs and the byelection March 11 will proceed as planned.

Rempel was the same judge who conducted a judicial recount of the election results in November that confirmed the tie, though Chong and Proulx were both found to have 1,009 votes, one more each than on election night. Rempel overturned an election day decision to reject one ballot but rejected another ballot that had originally been counted

Under Manitoba’s municipal elections law, a byelection must be held when two or more candidates tie with the same number of votes for an available office.

Election results can be challenged on three grounds: that an elected candidate was not eligible to hold office at the time they were elected; that there were irregularities in the election or acts constituting offences under that act, such as inducing someone to vote a particular way through bribery or coercion, or removing a ballot from a voting place; and on the basis that there were irregularities in the vote or acts considered election offences that affected the result of the vote.

A court decision on a challenge of the results of an election may be appealed to the Court of Appeals within seven days of the decision being handed down.

Chong, Proulx and former councillor Blake Ellis, who finished behind the two tied candidates, are all registered candidates in the upcoming byelection

Polls will be open March 11 at the Thompson Regional Community Centre from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. Advance polls will be March 4 at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. Mobile polls will be at Harmony House from 10 a.m. to noon March 11, at Rotary Place from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Thompson General Hospital from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Northern Spirit Manor from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters who are unable to vote on election day or in advance may apply in person or in writing to senior election official Dave Turpie at City Hall at 226 Mystery Lake Rd. for a sealed envelope ballot or by faxing him at 204-677-7981. In-person applications can be made until March 8. Applications by mail or fax must be made by Feb. 28.

Any Canadian citizen 18 or older who has lived in Thompson or owned property in the city for six months prior to the byelection date is eligible to vote. Voters may be required to produce one piece of government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s licence or a passport or at least two other documents that provide proof of identity.

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