Chances of a tie are good

A judge will determine whether an outright winner can be declared in Peachland's race for mayor.

The municipality's chief election officer Polly Palmer has asked for a judicial recount after incumbent Cindy Fortin and challenger Harry Gough finished in a dead heat.

Each candidate garnered 804 votes after a hand count of all the ballots between the two candidates on Monday.

"I think so," said Palmer when asked if the chances of a tie are good after a judicial recount is complete. "The (voting) machines really are accurate. But, it will be up to a judge now."

Gough held a one vote lead over Fortin after the ballots were counted Saturday night.

However, Palmer says a single ballot, which she presumes was a Fortin vote, jammed in the voting machine.

"The monitor read 'ballot jammed, reinsert.'"

Palmer said when the presiding elections officer went to retrieve the ballot, it slipped into the ballot box.

She said it wasn't clear if the vote had been counted, but she made a note of it.

"I phoned the voting machine company, and they said they couldn't know for sure. But, there's only an issue if there's a difference of one vote, and that never happens – then, it happened."

Because of the one-vote difference and the uncertainty surrounding that ballot, Palmer said she exercised her authority and opened the ballot boxes to verify the numbers.

And, she says, despite assertions to the contrary, both candidates and their representatives were brought into the room at the same time and oversaw most of the process.

If the judicial recount does not produce a winner, the new mayor would be declared by drawing lots.

Meantime, the executive director of CivicInfo BC says a tie is very rare, but not unheard of.

Todd Pugh says ties do happen from time to time in races where the voter pool is smaller. But, he says, most of those are broken during the judicial recount process.

Pugh doesn't recall a tie in a race for mayor.

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