Tory MLA calls for resignation of New Brunswick's chief electoral officer
As calls for a recount of the ballots in the New Brunswick election grow there are new demands for resignations following Monday night’s vote count confusion.
Elections New Brunswick is hoping the release of official election results will silence the skeptics, but some politicians say a hand recount is the only way to restore confidence.
“There should be a recount. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it,” says outgoing Public Safety Minister Bruce Northrup.
“Something has to be done there and it’s gotta be done right. I think all 49 ridings have to be redone.”
Elections New Brunswick confirmed there were issues with the electronic tabulating system, which was being used for the first time in the provincial election. Later, it was determined that some of the results being entered manually were not being replaced properly by subsequent results coming in from memory cards.
Elections New Brunswick insists the results are accurate, despite the tabulation troubles, but Northrup is asking for the chief electoral officer’s resignation.
“I just think that he’s responsible for Elections New Brunswick and it was just a disaster Monday night and still a disaster today so I think he should resign,” says Northrup.
“Mr. Northrup should keep things in perspective. What has happened here is a delay in posting correct election results on election night, not a failure to tabulate election results incorrectly,” said chief electoral officer Michael Quinn in a statement to CTV News.
“If Mr. Northrup believes a complete recount is necessary and possible under the Elections Act, he should make the necessary application to a judge and give his reasons. That’s what the law requires.”
But some MLAs continue to express concerns over the accuracy of the election results.
“You know, consistently we’ve heard why the low voter turnout,” says defeated Tory MLA Curtis Malloch. “Well, it’s stuff like this that drives people away from the ballot box.”
Malloch lost the riding of Charlotte-Campobello to Liberal John Ames, who posted on Facebook that he is open to a hand recount of the ballots.
Defeated Tory MLA Carl Killen says a recount should be done to ensure he did in fact lose the riding of Saint John-Harbour by 71 votes to Liberal Dr. Ed Doherty.
“Do I honestly think we’re going to see any grand change in results? I think not,” says Killen. “I think it’s important for the sake of public confidence in the electoral system and this particular election that we go ahead with recounts where necessary.”
“You’re always apprehensive about these things and you wonder if it’s a large error,” says Doherty.
Election New Brunswick plans to release the official results on Friday.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore