Stewiacke municipal election results upheld despite illegal votes

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has ruled that the results of October's municipal election in Stewiacke will be upheld despite seven illegal votes being cast.

Wendy Robinson was re-elected mayor by a margin of 14 votes over Pam Osborne, while the sixth and final council seat was won by Rebecca Rogers-Laing, who beat seventh place David LeBlanc by 12 votes.

Six of the illegal votes were cast by Judy Stoddart, wife of re-elected councillor Russell Stoddart, and one by Janice Peterson using the telephone PIN numbers of other voters.

Peterson's mother, Phyllis MacDonald, filed an affidavit saying she asked her daughter to vote using her PIN because she did not feel well enough to go to the polling station in person, adding that Peterson voted as instructed.

Stoddart says she voted as instructed for her mother and aunt, two people who asked for her help, and two more at the request of Robinson.

In a decision released Monday, Justice Michael Wood dismissed an application to overturn the results.

The court didn't agree that invalid votes should be deducted from the winning total and added to next place candidate as there was some evidence that votes were cast for the electors’ choice of candidate, even though proper procedure was not followed.