(WINDSOR, ON) – A second group has launched a court challenge of the 2014 Windsor municipal election official results. Yesterday afternoon, Gene Locknick served Windsor City Clerk Valerie Critchley with the court filing at City Hall.
The group of four candidates in the election are requesting the Superior Court order a manual recount of the election, by-passing the Municipal Elections Act stipulation of using the same method to count ballots as was employed on election day. At the heart of the group’s complaint is the issue of the City of Windsor having used the DS200 vote tabulators in the first place.
“The main point was the illegal use of optical scanning vote tabulators in the 2014 Municipal Election,” the group said in a media release. ”Both Mayor Eddie Francis and Mayor Drew Dilkens, in being lawyers, contravened the Ontario Municipal Elections Act in not passing the required by-law to authorize the legal use of optical scanning vote tabulators on or before June 1, in the year of the October 27, 2014 Municipal Election.”
While Francis has not addressed the suit publically, Dilkens has spoken to various local media. He was quoted as saying that he is frustrated by the complaints surrounding the election.
““I have not heard what the allegations are,” Dilkens said. “That’s the frustrating part here. You have a suspicion who you’re dealing with but you can’t quite place your finger on it? And you don’t really know what the allegations are that you’re trying to defend against or the questions you’re trying to answer.”
However, the group of four candidates sent an email to Windsor Council, including Dilkens, on March 23 of this year, outlining their issue with the vote tabulators and the apparent ease by which they can be manipulated.
A previous challenge to the election has resulted in a Superior Court justice allowing the Windsor Police to seize all election materials from the City. Due to the on-going investigation, Dilkens doesn’t see the need for the court action.
“What I would do before I filed an application in court is understand what the police have done because that may have already been done as part of the process,” Dilkens told CKLW. “They had control of the ballots and had permission from the court to open the ballot boxes.”
However, the complainants who initiated the police investigation term Dilkens’ comments as political interference in what should be an independent investigation.
“The mayor is speaking out of order, out of turn, and without the full facts,” they told The Square. “His comments are somewhat odd and concerning. Considering if nothing was wrong, his answers should have been quite benign. His fore-knowledge of what the police may or may not have done speaks volumes to an apparent or real conflict of interest that resides in this investigation.”
To highlight Dilkens’ weak position, he suggests that the deadline for filing a court challenge has already passed.
Application for order for recount
58. (1) A person who is entitled to vote in an election and has reasonable grounds for believing the election results to be in doubt may apply to the Superior Court of Justice for an order that the clerk hold a recount. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 58 (1); 2002, c. 17, Sched. D, s. 22 (1).
Time for application
(3) If satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for it, the court shall make an order requiring the clerk to hold a recount of the votes cast for all or specified candidates, on a by-law, or for all or specified answers to a question, and shall give the clerk a copy of the order as soon as possible. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 58 (3).
Time for recount
Problems re voting and vote-counting equipment
The candidates filed the request with the Superior Court on November 26, 2014, two days within the allotted timeframe.