© File photo
In this file photo, Irishtown-Summerside former deputy mayor Lloyd Burton attends a Greater Humber Joint Council meeting.
CORNER BROOK — A provincial court judge in Corner Brook will be asked today to order a recount of the votes cast for mayor in Irishtown-Summerside on Sept. 24.
The application was filed with the court by candidate Lloyd Burton within three days of the municipal election.
“I couldn’t get a regular recount cause there’s 10 or more votes difference, so the only route I could go was with the judicial recount,” said Burton.
Burton, the town’s former deputy mayor, ran against incumbent mayor Clarence Diamond and Tony Blanchard in the election. When the votes were tallied, Blanchard was declared the winner with 235 votes. He defeated Burton by just 15 votes.
Burton said he’ll present his reasons for wanting the recount to the judge.
“The actual happenings inside the room,” said Burton of the process involved in the vote count. “That’s what will be presented.”
Less than 24 hours after the votes were tallied concerns were raised in the town about the process. The returning officer in the election was Rita Blanchard, the new mayor’s wife, and the polling clerk was her sister, Geraldine Wheeler.
According to the province’s Municipal Elections Act there is no legislation preventing a relative of a candidate from serving as a returning officer or a polling clerk in a municipal election.
But Burton said the appearance of a conflict of interest is a concern.
He said conflict of interest for councillors is spelled out quite clearly, but there is nothing mentioned for returning officers or poll clerks.
“That’s omitted from the act and I think it’s very important to be included in it,” he said.
“Whether I win or lose I think I’m going to continue the fight.”
Meanwhile, the town has yet to set a date to hold a byelection to fill a vacant councillor position.
Originally, all six councillor positions were filled by acclamation, however, Freddy Bennett was later deemed ineligible because of an unpaid tax bill.
Right now, Burton said he doesn’t intend to run in that byelection.
However, Burton said should the judge order a recount, and it go in his favour, he is ready to step into the role of mayor.