Release: DJ Kelly forced to withdraw application for Ward 4 Calgary City Council election judicial recount
For Immediate Release:
November 25, 2021 – Calgary, Alberta
DJ Kelly, candidate for Calgary City Council in Ward 4, is announcing the formal withdrawal of the judicial recount application for the Ward 4 results in the 2021 Calgary Municipal Election.
A November 19 legal conference with Justice Davidson made clear a serious concern with the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA): a judicial recount is illegal wherever a municipality chooses to use voting machines rather than a traditional ballot count.
The City of Calgary’s legal team argued that, due to Section 84(3) of the LAEA, added in 2018, “As a result of the use of the tabulators, and in accordance with the Act, there is no provision for a judicial recount of any of the results of the 2021 Calgary municipal election.” Without the financial means to mount a challenge to the LAEA itself, Mr. Kelly had no choice but to withdraw his legal request.
“Regardless of whether or not a recount would have changed the outcome of the election, the current law is that in Calgary, and anywhere in Alberta where a machine is used on election day, there is no way to request a recount,” says Kelly. “Our democratic system must be based on trust, and the combination of this section of the LAEA and the choice by the City to use tabulators to achieve a quicker election result means by law no confirmation of election results is possible.”
The City’s argument follows the October denial by the Chief Electoral Officer for a hand recount. That decision also pointed towards the LAEA, that section 98(2) that a recount of ballots could only be done by once again using the tabulator machines.
“On October 19 I asked for a recount simply because I believed when an election is decided by (at that time) 52 votes, we should double-check that ballots were accurately counted. The denial of that request has unfortunately now uncovered even larger issues in our electoral system,” adds Kelly.
“As a result, I offer my congratulations to Sean Chu on his election as Ward 4 Councillor. Calgarians living in Ward 4 deserve strong and effective representation, and I will watch closely to see if he is able to deliver on that expectation.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere, however. As I have before, I will continue to engage our Council to offer support and repudiation when appropriate. My background is in community engagement, I have a history of focusing on transparency and citizen participation projects, and I expect this to, if anything, escalate moving forward. One of my first few projects will undoubtedly be to advocate for changes to the Local Authorities Elections Act so that no candidate in our next election has to experience these issues again. Anyone who would like to join me can sign up at djkelly.ca/subscribe.”