For Immediate Release / October 21, 2021
City of St. Albert Denies Request for Recount of Election Results
The Returning Officer for the 2021 Municipal General Election for the City of St. Albert has denied a Council candidate’s request for a recount of the votes cast. Candidates may request a recount according to Section 98(1) of the Local Authorities Election Act.
The candidate alleges improper counting, electronic malfunctions, and improper striking of ballots at different voting stations in St. Albert.
The Returning Officer denied the request on the following grounds:
- When making the request, the candidate did not provide evidence or show grounds for the allegations, as is required by Clause 98(1)(a) of the Local Authorities Election Act.
- The candidate made the request at the end of the 44-hour time frame specified in subsection 98(4) of the Local Authorities Election Act, which does not give the Returning Officer adequate time to conduct a recount before the statutory deadline to complete the recount, which is also the deadline to release the official results at 12 p.m. on October 22.
- To conduct a recount, the Returning Officer is required to use the same counting method as was used in the election; this would involve fitting new memory cards for the tabulating machines, which is not possible prior to the statutory deadline to complete the recount and announce the official results.
- The allegations imply either negligence or wilful misconduct on the part of election officials for whom the Returning Officer is responsible. For the Returning Officer to conduct a recount in such a context is contrary to the fundamental principles of administrative law.
- Given the nature of the allegations, and the time frame involved, it would be more appropriate for the candidate to request a recount through the Court of Queen’s Bench, which is an option under Part 4 of the Local Authorities Election Act. A judicial recount may be requested up to 19 days after the election and the Court, unlike the Returning Officer, is not limited to a machine recount and may visually inspect ballots if desired.
For more information on the Municipal Election, visit the City website at stalbert.ca/election.
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Last edited: October 21, 2021