Challenger Harry Gough and incumbent Cindy Fortin were tied in votes following a recount of the Oct 20 Peachland mayoral election result. So a B.C. judge had to draw the name of the winner and she drew Fortin’s name. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Incumbent’s name drawn to settle who will be Peachland’s next mayor

B.C. judge draws incumbent Cindy Fortin’s name to settle tied mayoral vote

In the end it came down to the luck of the draw.

Incumbent Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin will serve a second term after her name was drawn from a box that contained two pieces of identical paper, folded the exact same way, one with her name on it and the other bearing the name of her challenger, Harry Gough.

Fortin and Gough each received 804 votes in the Oct. 20 mayoral election and when two recounts—one by Peachland election staff and the other overseen by B.C. Provincial Court Judge Ellen Burdett—could not break the impasse, Burdett had to draw a name out of the box to pick a winner.

While some would have preferred a run-off election, Peachland’s election bylaw calls for the drawing of names in the event of a tie.

“That is something that I want Peachland to look at (and consider changing for future elections),” said a relieved Fortin moments after her name was pulled from the green wooden box.

Fortin, first elected mayor in 2014 after serving one term as a district councillor, said she was not nervous during the two recounts, but was in the moments just before the draw.

“Wow,” she said after her name was pulled out by Burdett.

Asked how she felt, Fortin replied: “you’ll have to ask me in a few moments when my heart stops fluttering.”

Fortin thanked all the people who had helped get the election finally settled, and singled out Gough for praise, saying he was “very gracious” throughout the process.

She said she wants to get back to work as quickly as possible and wants to work on mending the differences that sprang up in the community, even before the election campaign.

One of the most contentious issues was council’s controversial approval earlier this year of a five-storey waterfront development, slated for Beach Avenue near the community’s downtown. It will be the district’s tallest building and some feel it’s too tall for the location. Opponents accused council of changing the official community plan after the fact to allow the development.

Despite that, it was a conciliatory Fortin who accepted her second term as mayor following Monday’s recount and name draw.

“I’m really relived and I can’t wait to get back to work,” said Fortin.

She said to help heal the divisions in the community, the district had already started to work on better lines of communication and plans to hold more round-tables and have the community more involved in future decisions.

“You’re not going to make everybody happy all the time,” she said. It’s just not possible. But what (council has) to do is work hard, and better, for the public, and to better our communication.”

The drawing of her name followed a nearly five-hour recount of all votes cast for the five mayoral candidates who ran in the Oct. 20 civic election in Peachland. It was overseen by Burdett who approved the application for the judicially-supervised recount on Friday afternoon.

Only one ballot was challenged during the process and it was allowed by Burdett, who said she felt it was clear who the voter was trying to cast a ballot for. It was not for either Fortin or Gough, so it did not affect the outcome of the recount.

On election night, Gough appeared to have won the mayor’s job by just one vote over Fortin but that lead was erased during a recount conducted by district election staff last week. That recount left Fortin and Gough tied with 804 votes each. Those numbers stood up in the judicial recount Monday, with the three other candidates in the mayor’s race, Keith Thom, Eric Hall and Bob Henderson all far back.

Thom, Hall and Henderson were allowed to attend Monday’s judicial recount along with Fortin, Gough and their representatives but did not.

Only the candidates, their representatives, five election officials—including chief election officer Polly Palmer—Burdett, three B.C. sheriffs and members of the media were allowed to be in Peachland council chambers on Monday as the recount took place.

On Oct. 26, Burdett noted that during an actual election vote counting process, only candidates’ scrutineers and election officials are allowed to be present.

Details of the recount on Oct. 29 were not allowed to be reported under an order from Burdett. She said she did that to protect the integrity of the vote.

Gough, who also attended the judicial recount, said while he was disappointed his name was not drawn he did not plan to protest the election to the B.C. Supreme Court. Earlier he indicated he may challenge the vote because of concerns about how the election was handled.

He said ballot boxes were opened before he could be present to watch the vote count start on election night.

He said he knew that if there was to be a draw following the recount he would have a 50-50 chance of winning.

“Unfortunately my name was not drawn. But Cindy will be a good mayor,” he said.

Gough wished Fortin well and said he has no plans to run again for mayor in four years.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Youth across B.C. took part in the Student Vote. In Cariboo Chilcotin BC Green Party David Laing got the most votes and in Cariboo North BC NDP Party Scott Elliott emerged the winner.  (Student Vote photo)
BC Student Vote 2020: Green Party wins Cariboo Chilcotin, NDP wins Cariboo North

Student vote for Cariboo ridings has different outcomes than general voting

BC Transit buses in Quesnel will soon receive full driver doors. (Photo Submitted)
Quesnel bus drivers to get safety boost

A full driver door will be installed on all buses operating in the area

Troy McMillan was flown to a Vancouver hospital Oct. 18 after falling into the boards while playing hockey Oct. 11. (Submitted Photo)
Quesnel family “overwhelmed” by support after hockey injury

Troy McMillan is fighting for his life after tumbling into the boards Oct. 11

Current students from Quesnel Junior School help break the ground at the construction site of the new Junior School. The project has been in development since 2005, and it is expected to be completed in 2022. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel School District “COVID-free”

Superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller is happy with how two September exposure events were handled

This Google Maps screenshot shows the Highway 97 intersection at Juniper Road that is being deactivated in South Quesnel. (Google Maps screenshot)
Juniper Road intersection being deactivated in South Quesnel

Traffic can no longer enter or exit Highway 97 at Juniper Road in a move to improve road safety

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Most Read