Tie vote forces Village of Granisle council runoff election

Village voters will be going to the polls Nov. 19

Granisle voters are going back to the polls Nov. 19 in hopes of breaking a tie to decide who will be the fourth and final person elected to the village council.

When the votes were counted on election night, Oct. 15, newcomer Heather Dedio and incumbent councillor Kathy Bedard both had 64 votes.

Under the Local Government Act, the legislation which guides elections and the results, a judicial recount is mandatory when there is a tie.

That recount, held Oct. 24 in Houston by provincial court judge William Jackson, confirmed the tie vote recorded on election night and that set the machinery in motion for a run off.

A procedural error election night caused confusion at first when after a first count showed Dedio and Bedard each having 64 votes, ballots were counted again. When that confirmed a tie, election officials then held a draw and Dedio’s name was drawn so that she was named as elected.

“We completed this in-house which was incorrect. This is to be done by a judge and determined through the court as stated by the Local Government Act,” said Lorna Eftodie, the Village of Granisle’s chief elections officer, of situations in which there are tie votes.

The procedure followed on election night was done under a 2007 bylaw when, in fact, the village council had passed another bylaw in 2018 indicating that in case of a tie confirmed through a judicial recount, a runoff election be held and not a draw.

Under the Local Government Act, a local government must hold a runoff election if there is a tie unless it has a bylaw stating that a draw be held instead.

In effect, the village had two bylaws — one to hold a draw in case of a tie and the other to hold a run off election.

Eftodie said the village then referred the matter to its lawyers who determined that the 2018 bylaw took precedent over the 2007 one.

“The current election bylaw, which was adopted in 2018, with intent, rescinded the reading of the 2007 bylaw whether it was repealed by the bylaw, or not. This was determined by our legal representative,” she said.

Eftodie said she will be recommend to council that it amend the 2018 bylaw to formally rescind the 2007 bylaw.

While the decision of who will be the fourth and final representative on the village council will be decided by voters Nov. 19, there were no such issues with the other three councillors chosen election night.

Karen Barber received 89 votes, Marilyn Berglund received 88 votes and Calvin Thompson received 67 votes. All were incumbents.

Of a potential 303 voters, just 108 turned out to cast ballots.

There was no election for mayor as incumbent Linda McGuire was the only person to file nomination papers.