Richard Edjericon is the new MLA for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.
Edjericon garnered 186 votes. He was followed by Mary Rose Sundberg with 99 votes; Ernest Betsina, 62; Nadine Delorme, 12 and Clinton Unka, 10.
Steve Norn, whose ejection from the Legislature of the Northwest Territories at the end of November led to the byelection, placed third with 70 votes.
Elections NWT conducted a vote count at the Explorer Hotel on Wednesday afternoon. Results came in at about 5 p.m.
Edjericon, a former Dettah chief and past candidate for the Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh electoral district in the last two territorial elections, said that he was pleased with the outcome after being approached to run again by community members in November.
“When people started coming out and started talking to me two or three times about doing it again, after a while I talked about it with family and the Elders and I said, yeah, for sure,” he said. “We have to work together and I think I bring a lot of good experience with a good background. It won’t take long to understand the GNWT process and procedures in terms of the legislature. I’ve been around here before in leadership and I understand all politics and here in the North. So I think I have a good idea of what we are walking into, for sure.”
Like other candidates who spoke to NNSL Media, Edjericon said the mail-in vote made the campaign a challenge for the electorate.
He pointed out that in past elections, voter turnout usually surpassed 70 per cent. Elections NWT reported 891 registered electors in the district, and approximately 445 votes were cast.
“We’re down and the reason we’re down is because there’s a lot of confusion as to how the mail-in ballot worked,” he said. “There were no proper translations. In some cases, the Elders got the mail-in ballots but they would be left in the centre of the table for a while before ever opening them up, and then they couldn’t really understand it.
“So it was problem.”
Edjericon said he felt that most residents were more familiar with the in-person vote where they could cast a ballot and show government-issued identification.
“There’s no reason why they couldn’t have had a proper election anyway,” he said, pointing to Fort Resolution and the Dene Nation both having recent in-person elections. “The GNWT needs to really look at this to make sure that we don’t interfere with the people’s right to vote.”
The next session of the NWT Legislative Assembly resumes on Feb. 21.