Several days after confirming that she was “exploring options” regarding a potential recount, Loyalist-Cataraqui District candidate for City Council, Jacqui Collier, has stated that she will not be proceeding with an application to the Superior Court of Justice. “Following investigation of the process required for a recount, between potential legal costs and the involved processes, I’ve decided not to pursue a recount at this time,” the candidate said in a statement provided to Kingstonist.
The municipal election on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, produced several close results throughout the city of Kingston, however, the race in Loyalist-Cataraqui District was by far the closest, as candidate Paul Chaves defeated Collier by just 35 votes. “It has been my honour to run in this election, and I have such gratitude for the amazing support I have received from across the community. With thousands of votes cast and a razor-thin margin determining the election in my district of Loyalist-Cataraqui, I had hoped the clerk would be able to conduct a double-check with a recount. It seems good practice to do so when the margin is so very narrow,” said Collier.
According to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, recounts are only guaranteed in cases where two or more candidates are tied once the results are certified. The Act does allow the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to order recounts, however, cases must be brought forward by citizens, which can be an expensive endeavour and one that does not guarantee a recount. “There are costs associated, I’ve been told it could be approximately $5,000 to $7,000, which is fairly prohibitive,” Collier said in an interview with Kingstonist on Wednesday.
Collier would have had 30 days to appeal to the courts for a recount. It should be noted that a recount can also be ordered through the current City Council, according to the Act. If ordered, a recount would have followed the original voting tabulation method used by the City of Kingston’s Election Office, meaning that a new result was unlikely. “I have great respect and faith in our democratic process and our City staff,” Collier said in the statement. “I love our beautiful Kingston, and I will continue to work gratefully and diligently for its betterment through the many organizations I’m privileged to be part of as a private citizen. I extend my best wishes to all of our incoming councillors on a wonderful term ahead.”
With today’s development, Paul Chaves is now officially set to become the newest City Councillor for Loyalist-Cataraqui District, as he replaces outgoing representative Simon Chapelle, who decided not to seek re-election.
“It’s nice to know that this is finally over and finalized. [This] way, I can move on with my duties as Councillor and represent the residents of this district,” Chaves said.
With 3,383 votes cast, Loyalist-Cataraqui District had the highest individual turnout on election night, compared to the City’s other 11 electoral districts, which Chaves attributed to the high level of dedication from both campaigns. “I think [it has] a lot to do with both Jacqui and I having been very active in our campaigns, pounding the pavement, and being very engaged with the community. So, kudos to her for doing that.”
The Councillor-Elect will be sworn-in with the rest of Kingston’s incoming City Council at a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.