A candidate who missed a seat on Saanich council by 11 votes has had his request for a recount denied by the B.C. Provincial Court.
Rishi Sharma came in ninth place in Saanich’s election with 9,207 votes, just shy of the eighth-place finisher Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who received 9,218.
According to B.C.’s Local Government Act, a recount is only required in the event of a tie, but a candidate may request one.
If requested, a recount will only take place if the court allows, and in this case the B.C. Provincial Court decided a recount is not required.
The Local Government Act allows a recount for the following reasons:
- if the candidate believes votes were not correctly accepted or ballots were not correctly rejected
- that the ballot count doesn’t accurately record the number of valid votes
- that the final determination did not correctly calculate the total number of valid votes
“The District of Saanich would like to thank all candidates for their participation and officially congratulate our new mayor and council as they embark on this next term,” said Chief Election Officer Angila Bains in a news release.
Sharma tells CHEK News he is disappointed in the decision, but he will not be seeking an appeal and he accepts the judge’s decision.
“We were surprised that it happened so quickly. But I am respecting the judge’s decision, we’re not going to appeal, we’re not going to move forward with it,” Sharma said.
He says the ruling was made because his campaign did not bring forward enough evidence that the vote-counting machines could have made a mistake in counting.
“The difficulty was in trying to find information about the voting tabulator machines, we just didn’t have enough time,” Sharma said. “And we didn’t get the information from the district on any margin of errors with the tablulating machines. They didn’t offer it. So in their case, they just were saying that the machines are always accurate.”
Bondaroff posted on Facebook that Saanich uses vote-counting machines, and that residents should feel confident the votes were properly counted.
“I am grateful for all of the votes and support I received from Saanich residents,” Bondaroff said on Facebook. “I am looking forward to getting back to learning the ropes as a new Saanich Councillor and working hard to improve Saanich.”
In the meantime, Sharma says he is going to continue attending community events, like Wednesday mornings protest for road safety in Saanich, to support causes he hoped to address if he were elected to council.
“Affordability, environmental protection, agriculture, road safety and housing,” Sharma said. “These are the things that I wanted to move forward on, because I have experience in all these areas. So if I can continue to be a part of it, be a part of the community and help I’m going to continue.”