Winners picked out of a hat after ties
Red Deer County incumbent councillors Dave Hoar and Penny Archibald lost their seats in heart-breaking fashion, it was confirmed on Tuesday.
In an unlikely twist, when the votes were counted on election night both councillors ended up in a tie with an opponent. A random draw was used to pick the name of the winners and both incumbents lost.
Recounts were done on Tuesday afternoon and the counts remained the same and the tie-breakers stand.
In Archibald’s Division 3, opponent Don Church’s name was chosen. He and Archibald had both collected 288 votes. A second challenger, Darlene Schmidt, finished third with 90 votes.
For Archibald, who farms with husband Allan near Innisfail, the loss ends a 24-year run on county council. She was in her ninth council race.
“It was meant to be,” said Archibald. “I had a good time. I was there for 24 years.
“I’m going to love farming again.”
Archibald, 72, promised she didn’t plan to sit on the sidelines and will stay involved in the county.
In Division 4, Connie Huelsman’s name was picked. She was Hoar’s only opponent and they both picked up 328 votes.
Hoar, who also farms near Innisfail, had just finished his second term on council.
“It was not the happiest night of my life.” he said. “If I was going to lose I would rather it have been 10 or 20 votes than a tie vote.
“Politics is a funny game.”
He said he enjoyed his six years on council and felt he was making a good contribution.
“It was very rewarding.”
County returning officer Nancy Lougheed said she hasn’t seen a tie in the county in the 15 years she’s been organizing vote counts.
To have two in the same election, is beyond rare.
“It was a little bit of a shock.”
In Clearwater County, recounts were held in three divisions. Two were separated by one vote and the third race had a six-vote margin.
After votes were tallied again on Tuesday, two of the winners found they were on the losing side.
Unofficial results on election night had incumbent Division 3 Coun. John Vandermeer losing by one vote — 183 to 184 — to Chuck Shipley. A recount gave Vandermeer 183 votes to Shipley’s 181.
The reverse happened in Division 5 where incumbent Bob Bryant was first given a one-vote victory — 196 to 195 — over Theresa Laing. The recount gave Laing 194 votes to Bryant’s 193.
In Division 2 the outcome remained the same with incumbent Dick Wymenga losing to Kyle Greenwood, although Greenwood’s margin of victory was reduced to six votes from seven.
Another recount will take place on Wednesday in Ponoka where the two-way race for mayor produced a one-vote victory for Rick Bonnett over Doug Gill.
Town chief administrative officer and returning officer Brad Watson said under the Municipal Government Act candidates must be given at least 12 hours notice before a recount, so it was decided to wait another day.