Judicial Recounts: An Inside View

Judicial Recounts: An Inside View

Canada’s 41st general election was held on May 2, 2011. There were bitter disputes over the results in some ridings after certain candidates won their seats with razor­thin margins. To determine once and for all who won and who lost, judicial recounts were ordered in four ridings: Montmagny–L’Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup, Etobicoke Centre, Nipissing–Timiskaming, and Winnipeg Centre. This article looks at the history of judicial recounts, the process that was used to examine the ballots in Montmagny–L’Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup, and Mr. Justice Gilles Blanchet’s rulings on the disputed ballots.

Judicial recounts involve having a judge review the ballots to determine the election results in a riding. The process first appeared in federal electoral legislation in 18781 shortly following the introduction of the secret ballot.2