Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Recount called off

Jack Danylchuk
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 21/04) - The NDP called a halt to a judicial recount Tuesday after reviewing the results from 14 polls and failing to find evidence of widespread irregularities in the Western Arctic.

"We're liable for the costs, so we figured that if the result wasn't moving it wasn't worth continuing," Mark Heyck, campaign manager for Dennis Bevington, said after throwing in the towel.

Ethel Blondin Andrew won the seat by 52 votes, but Judge Virginia Schuler ordered a recount after an NDP scrutineer swore that she protested a spoiled ballot that was counted for the Liberal incumbent.

A review of all ballots cast in five polls at Sir John Franklin high school has failed to turn up one that triggered a judicial recount of votes in the Western Arctic riding.

Vanessa Worsley, an NDP scrutineer said a clerk at one of five polls at the school told her to "keep your mouth shut" when she pointed out that a ballot counted for Blondin-Andrew also had a diagonal line beside Bevington's name.

The tedious process shifted its focus Tuesday morning to other polls where the NDP suspected the official results might not accurately reflect the actual vote.

At poll 81 in Lutsel K'e, they found one more vote for Blondin-Andrew and two for Bevington in the small piles of spoiled and rejected ballots.

Heyck said the recount did find "some irregularities. It's too late to undo what's done," but the issues will be raised with the chief returning officer.

-- with a file from Alex Glancy