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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Election Recount

by Doug Harvey

When it comes to election numbers, to me, it always seems that something's just not right. A good example was the most recent 2018 Central Elgin Municipal Elections. The race for Deputy Mayor was really close, Tom Marks won with 1546 votes, Stephen Carr came a very close second by only five votes with 1541, and Harold Winkworth trailed with 1076 votes. There's no surprise here that Stephen Carr requested a recount of the Election results.

In order to get a recount, the request had to be approved by Central Elgin Council, which happened seven days after the Election on Monday, October 29th, 2018 at the Council meeting. After a lengthy discussion, Council approved a recount of just the two top candidates, in this case Tom Marks and Stephen Carr.

On Wednesday October 31, 2018 the public was advised that a recount was to take place early the following day, and that the results would be available that same day.

On Thursday November 01, 2018, the public was advised that the ballots for the Deputy Mayor candidates were recounted at the request of a candidate, and that the results were the same as election day on October 22nd with Tom Marks having 1546 votes and Stephen Carr having 1541 votes.

The issue that I have after all that's happened is with the actual Election results which are included below. When you take a look at the numbers in the tables below, the Total Votes Cast for the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor positions do not match. There seems to be a difference of 124 votes or 2.89% between the two counts. As we dig deeper, the difference with the numbers can be linked to ballets being rejected.

According to the Municipality, out of 10,717 eligible voters in Central Elgin, only 4,334 cast ballots in the 2018 Central Elgin Municipal Elections, which is a 40.44% turnout. When we take the total turnout in this years 2018 Election and compare ballet rejection rates, the results for Mayor are 47 ballets rejected or roughly 1% of the total eligible voters, and the results for Deputy Mayor are 171 ballets rejected or roughly 4.1% of the total eligible voters.

The difference between a valid ballot and a rejected ballot in the two groups could be caused by simple marking errors when voters are selecting their choices on the provided ballot. Automated machines tally the numbers using predetermined parameters to eliminate errors, but at the same time really consider a voters ability to follow instructions that are on the ballot. A trembling hand could in fact take your civic right to vote and be counted, away. It's that simple.

What really is troubling is the fact that a ballot may have several sections on the form for a voter to select, and with each selection a voter makes will end up being analyzed by a machine checking voter selections using predetermined parameters that will determine whether or not that section of the ballot is valid.

After going through the process of voting myself, I can recall coming close to making a mistake on that ballot and wondered how many people would in fact make an error. So when I think of a recount for a difference of 5 votes, all I can think of is the 171 ballots that were deemed to be invalid in the tally for Deputy Mayor.


To be elected: 1 Votes Percentage
Sally MARTYN 2046 47.73%
David MARR 1752 40.87%
Casey SIEBENMORGEN 489 11.41%
Total Votes Cast 4,287  
Ballots Cast by Eligible Voters 4,334  
Total Votes Cast for Mayor 4,287  
Mayor Rejected Ballots 47 1%

Deputy Mayor

To be elected: 1 Votes Percentage
Tom MARKS 1546 37.14%
Stephen CARR 1541 37.02%
Harold WINKWORTH 1076 25.85%
Total Votes Cast 4,163  
Ballots Cast by Eligible Voters 4,334  
Total Votes Cast for Deputy Mayor 4,163  
Deputy Mayor Rejected Ballots 171 4.1%

Last Updated: Sunday, 04 November 2018 10:52:52 AM EST

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