Peachland’s mayor Cindy Fortin, chosen from a draw

Fortin’s name pulled from a hat

It came down to a draw, and Cindy Fortin will remain the mayor of Peachland.

The count started at 10 a.m. and just before 3 p.m. 804 ballots were counted for both Fortin and challenger Harry Gough.

When Fortin’s name was pulled from the hat, she and Gough shook hands and congratulated each other on the outcome.

Gough pointed out that while he was disappointed to lose, the sky was not falling, and Fortin will be a good mayor for the next four years.

He also quashed any questions about whether he would bring the matter to the B.C. supreme court, noting that he didn’t want to put anyone through that.

More to come.

ORIGINAL 6 a.m.

The judicial recount of mayoral ballots cast in the Peachland municipal election is about to get underway at the town’s community centre.

The recount will determine how many votes Harry Gough and incumbent Cindy Fortin received in what looks to be a tied race, with each having 804 votes in the official count.

B.C. Provincial Court judge Ellen Burdett will oversee the process.

Burdett ordered the recount Friday despite Gough saying he was opposed. But when she asked him what section of the Local Government Act he was basing his challenge on, he could not say.

Gough said he is concerned about how the ballots were handled by election officials, claiming when he arrived on election night at the vote count, ballot boxes were not sealed as they should have been. Chief election officer Polly Palmer denies that was the case.

READ ALSO: NOW IT IS A TIE

Burdett told Gough that if he has concerns about the election itself, he must file an application with the Supreme Court of B.C. as the provincial court does not have jurisdiction when it comes to complaints about how civic elections in B.C. are conducted.

The judicial recount could take as long as six hours to complete given that all the ballots cast for the five mayoral candidates will be recounted.

Burdett said all the candidates, plus one representative each, will be allowed to be in room during the recount and will be able to challenge ballots. If challenges are made, Burdett, who will be present, will rule on them.

The public will not be allowed to attend the recount but the media will be present. However, Burdett said no news of the recount can be made public before she either declares a winner based on the recount or the winner is decided by the drawing of lots if Gough and Fortin remain tied.

She warned the reporters present in court covering the application for a judicial recount that do report progress prior to her declaration would be contempt of court.

She said she was making the ruling to protect the integrity of the vote.

Outside the court, Gough said he would hold off on any decision to court challenge to how the vote was held pending either Burdett the result of Monday’s recount.

Palmer and Gough were in court Monday, Fortin was a no-show.

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