A candidate who finished a distant last in this month’s municipal election won’t get a recount.
Ray Farmere, who ran for mayor of the City of Nanaimo, applied to the courts for a judicial recount of the election results, but the application has been dismissed. The case was in court in Nanaimo on Tuesday.
Leonard Krog won with 20,040 votes and is mayor-elect, to be sworn in next week. Don Hubbard was runner-up with 6,802 votes and Farmere garnered 365 votes.
Farmere, accompanied by Melissa Nash, his campaign manager, told the court that a viewing screen at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre seemed to show irregularities with his vote count. He said there was a technical error.
“I saw on the screen that night about 20,000 for me and then it dropped to 7,000 and then it dropped to 365,” he said.
Farmere said he was told that the computer at the conference centre shut down at one point.
“But it took two minutes to change it. It takes longer than two minutes for a computer to come up. I’m a computer technician. It takes at least five minutes for a computer to come up,” he said. “But it is long enough to make some changes to the spreadsheet.”
Farmere submitted images of a man to the court, whom he said resembled Santa Claus and whom he said was “ripping down” election signs near Vancouver Island University, which Farmere said is “hurting people’s chances.”
Farmere said numbers from the McGirr Elementary School polling station weren’t reported properly. He pointed to an election day issue at the school, which delayed preliminary results.
Krog as well as City of Nanaimo chief election officer Sheila Gurrie both spoke in court today. Gurrie said Farmere’s application didn’t meet the threshold for an application for a recount.
She also said the McGirr issues relate to the machines, but added that they are merely counters and scanning devices and not connected to the internet.
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Judge Parker MacCarthy agreed that Farmere’s application didn’t meet the threshold. He said the application didn’t have an affidavit – a sworn statement used as evidence – to support the facts on which the application was based.
MacCarthy said the deadline for the application was nine days after polls close, which was Monday. Gurrie said city staff were served Monday at 4:25 p.m., while Krog said he was served at 7:15 p.m. at his residence.
“The absence of the required affidavit pursuant to … the Local Government Act in my view is fatal to the application of Mr. Farmere to seek a judicial recount,” said MacCarthy. “Accordingly in my view, his application for a judicial recount must be dismissed.”
Farmere said he consulted with legal advisors at Elections B.C. and Nash said they won’t pursue the matter further.
“I guess if I had have had an affidavit, they would have had to have done something further because we have a responsibility to the voters, so that’s what I would have done. I would have been encouraged in taking it through,” said Farmere.
Krog said Farmere undertaking an application with no basis for any of the allegations was very disappointing.
“I looked at the application briefly and I am a lawyer by training and it was clear to me it was grossly deficient both in terms of what the act requires and the fact that it lacked any affidavit in support, which is the standard process for any application in our court system,” said Krog.
Hubbard was also a respondent named in Farmere’s application.
– with files from Karl Yu