Elections NB officer describes 'problems' in Saint John Harbour election
The New Brunswick provincial election was nine months ago, but the results in one riding are still under scrutiny.
Barry Ogden made his way into the courthouse on Monday, followed shortly afterwards by Liberal MLA Gerry Lowe.
Both were heading inside for the first day of the trial into the disputed election results in the riding of Saint John Harbour.
The first witness called to testify was Richard Thorne, a field liaison officer for nine area ridings, including Saint John Harbour.
“There were some problems here,” Thorne said. “Perhaps a few more than you might have got under ordinary circumstances in that riding.”
The problems he detailed during his testimony included issues with a training officer, ballot-issuing books, and a special ballot machine at the polling station at St. Luke's Church on election day, but Thorne says the issues were addressed.
“There are some things we could do to make some changes in some of the election procedures, but by and large these are not wholesale changes,” Thorne said.
The riding of Saint John Harbour was a tight two-way race with Lowe beating Ogden, who ran for the Progressive Conservative Party, by just 10 votes in the Sept. 24 provincial election.
Ogden is looking to have the election results in the riding of Saint John Harbour set aside.
“We knew there were problems right from the get go, but this is far, far worse than what we ever thought,” Ogden said.
But when it comes to whether the public should have faith in the election results, Thorne says by and large, yes.
“We counted them twice,” Thorne said. “If you look at the process, we held an election, people came to the polls, the polls produced results, we uploaded the machines electronically successfully at the end of the election.”
Five days have been set aside for this matter at the Court of Queen's Bench.
It continues tomorrow with a new witness expected to take the stand.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.