Thompson voters heading back to ballot box for byelection to fill eighth council seat after recount

A byelection will be held to fill the eighth seat on Thompson’s city council after a judicial recount confirmed that candidates Andre Proulx and Chiew Chong tied with 1,008 votes each.

An election day rejection of one ballot was overturned prior to the recount but another ballot that had been accepted in the original tally was rejected, the City of Thompson said in a Nov. 30 press release.

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“The judicial recount that was triggered by a tie vote for the eighth council seat during Thompson’s 2018 municipal election is complete, and the tie vote has been upheld,” said the press release, issued around 6:30 p.m. “A local byelection for the eighth council seat will be called in the coming weeks, once preparations are in place.”

Any qualified candidate – a Canadian citizen at least 18 years old who has been a Thompson resident or owned property in the city for at least six months as of the election date – could run for that vacant council seat, not just Proulx or Chong.

The application for a provincial court judge to review the rejection of the ballot, which had two marks in the mayoral portion – one of them a solid marking indicating a vote for one of the candidates and the other an “ambiguous” mark – and conduct a recount, was filed around noon Nov. 7, senior election official Dave Turpie said. The two marks in the mayoral section of the ballot resulted in it being rejected by the machine that tabulates votes. There were also eight properly marked votes for councillors and seven for school trustees, Turpie previously told the Thompson Citizen.

Both Andre Proulx and Chiew Chong – the council candidates who finished tied for the eighth spot on council with 1,008 votes – objected to the ballot rejection, the City of Thompson said in an Oct. 26 press release, which meant that Turpie had to apply for a judicial recount under the Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act.

The Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act says that if two or more candidates for the same office can not be declared elected because each has received the same number of votes, the senior election official must declare the office vacant and hold a byelection to fill it, except when a judicial recount is applied for.

The senior election official must apply for a judicial recount if a tie has been declared and any objection was made to a decision by an election official to accept or reject a ballot.

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