Yellowknife North and Frame Lake will see recounts – the only two electoral districts in the Northwest Territories to face extra scrutiny following last Tuesday’s results.
According to the NWT Elections and Plebiscites Act, an automatic judicial recount is triggered when the margin of victory is less than two per cent.
Range Lake came just shy of requiring a recount as incumbent Caroline Cochrane retained her seat over challenger Hughie Graham by just over two per cent.
Nicole Latour, CEO of Elections NWT said an affidavit was filed with the NWT Supreme Court on Wednesday after official addition exercises by returning officers was conducted.
For both districts, the final numbers remained the same as Tuesday’s unofficial count, Latour added.
“Right now we are waiting for the court to tell us when we will be getting a recount,” said Latour. “There is no date set just yet.”
Latour said final results should be available no later than the end of next week, but added that for both cases of recounts, it will be difficult for the results to be overturned. This is because there will need to be found 11 errors in the recount in Frame Lake, as Kevin O’Reilly won over Dave Ramsay, 357-346.
At the closing of the polls Tuesday, incumbent MLA Kevin O’Reilly pulled ahead of Dave Ramsay in Frame Lake by 11 votes, 357-346 in the unofficial count.
Ramsay did not concede defeat on Tuesday night and indicated he was looking forward to the recounts.
NNSL Media was unable to reach Ramsay on Wednesday or Thursday.
As for Yellowknife North, there will have to be five errors found that weren’t caught in either of the unofficial or follow-up official audition. This is because Cory Vanthuyne, incumbent MLA for Yellowknife North, came up short by just five votes against Rylund Johnson.
Johnson had 501 votes, while Vanthuyne had 496 in the unofficial count. Third place challenger Jan Vallille had 380.
Vanthuyne stated in a Facebook post Wednesday that he was looking forward to the recount in the coming days.
Johnson stated in a Facebook post Wednesday that there is an “uncertainty of a recount still to be determined,” but is looking forward to “one of the most productive and progressive assemblies we have ever seen.”
NNSL Media was unable to reach Vanthuyne on Wednesday or Thursday.
In 2015, a judicial recount provided Vanthuyne with a victory after a five-way race in Yellowknife North. He narrowly beat Dan Wong, Ben Nind, Edwin Castillo and Sean Erasmus.
Caroline Cochrane retained Range Lake over challenger Hughie Graham, 439-421, a vote not quite close enough for a recount.
Graham said he came up “just short” of a win. He was quite cheerful following the results, despite the loss.
“No because the count was 2.09 per cent and the spread over the official count and the unofficial count were the same,” Graham said when asked if he was hoping for a recount.
“I think we gave her a helluva run for someone who was virtually unknown in the political world.”
Incidentally in 2015, Cochrane won against then incumbent Daryl Dolynny 335-325 after judicial recount.
Graham said he took two things away from the results. First, he felt voters were unhappy with Cochrane’s leadership during the last term. He said this was evident with the higher voter turnout this time around.
Although his campaign got off to a slow start, by the middle of the third week it seemed he was running very close and he was getting strong support from constituents, he said.
“I hope they stay the course on the message of the economy because there was a lot talking of the economy,” Graham said of candidates during the campaign.
He also noted that female candidates have much to be excited about and that he hopes there is a balanced approach between addressing social issues and focusing on economic development.