Monday, September 30, 2019 ~ SOOKE
~ West Shore Voice News
The candidate who earned the second-highest number of votes in this month’s District of Sooke by-election queried the Chief Returning Officer about the possibility of a recount. The answer was no.
“I am always happy with democracy, my questions are part of that process,” said Kevin Pearson today. Pearson received 283 votes on Saturday night (combined tally of two advance voting days September 18 and 25 together with general voting on September 28), just three fewer than Dana Lajeunesse who won with 286 votes.
“I truly wish Dana all the very best. I’m confident he will do an amazing job,” says Pearson. Pearson served on Sooke Council during the 2011-2015 and 2015-2018 terms.
The by-election was called and fulfilled to fill one vacant seat for Councillor on District of Sooke council (the seat was left vacant upon the passing of Brenda Parkinson). There were 10 candidates in the running, two of which made public their intention not to actively campaign but did not officially withdraw their candidacy with Elections BC. Between them, the two non-active candidates received 60 votes (Jeff McArthur got 58 votes and Ken Robar received two votes). That’s 4.1% of the 1,447 votes cast during the full by-election process.
A tally of 1,447 votes (370 of those from advance voting) represents 14% of 10,300 eligible voters. According to Chief Election Officer Carolyn Mushata, that is higher than a usual count of 10% turnout for by-elections.
Mushata announced the official by-election results at 10 am on Monday September 30 at the Sooke municipal hall.
No recount is based on this, according to Mushata: “Under section 148 of the Local Government Act an application can be made for a judicial recount to be undertaken by the Provincial Court. An application may only be made on one or more of the following bases:
- That votes were not correctly accepted or ballots were not correctly rejected as required by the rules of section 139;
- That a ballot account does not accurately record the number of valid votes for a candidate;
- That the final determination under section 145 did not correctly calculate the total number of valid votes for a candidate.”
There was only one (1) rejected ballot. Mushata explained it was a mail-in ballot in which the individual did not complete the certification form indicating their eligibility to vote.
The same results as released today were available at the voting station on Saturday evening September 28: Dana Lajeunesse – 286; Kevin Pearson – 283; Britt Santowski – 265; Jeff Stewart – 262; Christina Schlattner – 160; Herb Haldane – 82; Jeff McArthur – 58; Lorraine Pawlivsky-Love – 36; Mick Rhodes – 13; and Ken Robar – 2.
Lajeunesse’s campaign had a theme of “Sooke is a place for everyone to call home”. Promotion with signage and website was slick and professional. He grew up in Jordan River, and built his career in Victoria while living mostly in Sooke. After a logging accident with life-altering injuries in 1989 that has Lajeunesse confined to use of a wheelchair, he went on to mechanical engineering technology studies and teaching at Camosun College for 12 years while further working as an industry liaison officer there.
Lejeuesse said on his website that he hopes to attract businesses to the area and bring a more diverse array of job opportunities to Sooke.
His priorities for Sooke were stated as transportation and mobility, economic development and diversification, cooperation, education, support for seniors, health care, homelessness, first responders and arts and culture.
Lajeunesse now joins Mayor Maja Tait and fellow councillors Jeff Bateman, Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath and Tony St Pierre on council.
The next Sooke Council meeting is tonight September 30 at 7 pm. Live webcast: www.sooke.ca