Recount gives fewer votes to many winners
Four days after the municipal election, it’s official....
Photo by Whitehorse Star
COUNCILLOR-DESIGNATE – Mike Gladish learned this morning he has indeed been elected to serve on Whitehorse’s next city council (right). He defeated Roslyn Woodcock by just three votes.
Four days after the municipal election, it’s official….
Mike Gladish will become one of the six councillors to make up the next city council.
Norma Felker, the city’s returning officer, confirmed this morning that Gladish’s spot as the final council member was confirmed following a recount of all the ballots over the weekend.
The recount was mandatory after unofficial results of last Thursday’s election had Gladish winning the final, sixth seat for councillors by only two votes over Roslyn Woodcock.
The recount turned up just a three-vote difference between the two.
Gladish took 1,534 votes and Woodcock earned 1,531 compared to last Thursday evening’s unofficial results, which reported Gladish as taking 1,534 votes and Woodcock taking 1,532.
Woodcock said this morning that while she’s “somewhat disappointed” with the result, she had assumed there were no major errors with the results and that Gladish would take the seat.
Wishing Gladish congratulations and noting he’s a good person for the job, Woodcock said she believes council has the right momentum now for some change to happen.
She also plans to stay involved with the city in its public consultations on various issues, including the upcoming meetings and surveys focused on diverting waste from the landfill.
Both Woodcock and Gladish noted in separate interviews that they were able to focus on other things over the weekend, knowing results wouldn’t be available until this morning.
For Gladish, as the operations manager for the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, it wasn’t too hard to focus on other things, with the club’s annual ski swap happening through the weekend.
This morning though, both were awaiting the final results.
Gladish said he thought Woodcock would have made a good candidate to serve on council so he was fine with whatever the results turned up.
Told of the recount’s results, Gladish said he was relieved that it’s over, having had to inform many who congratulated him over the weekend that results weren’t final and things may change.
As he spoke of being happy the final results were in and joining council, a spirited “Woo-hoo!” could be heard in the background.
In the first month, Gladish said, he plans to focus on exactly how city council operates – the processes and the like, though he said he feels comfortable enough taking a seat at council having made numerous presentations to council.
He also noted he hopes to soon begin with the rest of council working on waste management (moving toward a 50 per cent diversion rate), dealing with growth and pursuing a way of addressing poverty and homelessness by working with the Yukon government, non-profit groups and other stakeholders.
Gladish also noted the make-up of the new council – a new mayor along with three new councillors and three incumbents – is a good one that could mean change for the city while also keeping things “grounded”.
As he pointed out, the incumbents will be more familiar with exactly what council can do.
This recount had Felker and her staff working three days, including throughout the weekend, to get the official numbers, she said.
“It was a full three days,” Felker said this morning, noting the recount itself took 14 hours while all the “balancing” which followed took another seven hours.
She noted that while there were changes, they weren’t significant.
She praised her staff for their work last Thursday night and over the weekend, noting she is proud of their efforts.
“Staffing at the polls did a wonderful job,” she said.
They worked under tremendous pressure last Thursday night after the polls closed at 8 p.m.
She pointed out, noting time, distractions and tiredness as some of the pressures staff were under as they counted results for five mayoral candidates and 22 councillor candidates.
Gladish will be sworn into office next Monday along with mayor-designate Dan Curtis and councillor-designates John Streicker and Jocelyn Curteanu.
Incumbents Betty Irwin, Kirk Cameron and Dave Stockdale will also be sworn in to another term on council.
Curtis took the mayoralty with 2,375 votes, or 43 per cent of ballots cast.
His closest competitor was Rick Karp, who took 1,100 votes.
Behind him were Bernie Phillips (988 votes), Scott Howell (587 votes) and Mandeep Sidhu (480 votes).
The recounted results for those elected as councillors show:
• Streicker taking 2,951 votes compared to an original count of 2,963 votes;
• Irwin taking 2,530 votes compared to 2,537 in the original count;
• Cameron taking 2,356 votes compared to 2,363 in the original count;
• Curteanu taking 2,129 votes compared to 2,137 in the original count; and
• Stockdale taking 1,640 votes compared to 1,650 in the original count.
Under the Municipal Act, a recount must be conducted if the number of ballots rejected – in this case, 41 – would affect the outcome if they had been counted as valid.
Recounts must also be done if there is a tie or if a candidate (or his or her agent) requests it.
The last time a recount happened was in 1986, at the request of a candidate.
Felker didn’t have the numbers available but noted from her memory that there were three candidates in question.
By the end of the election, the candidate who had placed last of the three – Gerry Thick – was elected to council while the other two candidates weren’t.
After Thursday’s election, Felker said, she wants to explore the possibility of electronic voting, noting that as long as there are paper ballots, counts will likely have to be done manually.