Vandermeer retains Clearwater County council seat

John Vandermeer will retain his council seat in Clearwater County following an unusual judge-ordered byelection.

John Vandermeer will retain his council seat in Clearwater County following an unusual judge-ordered byelection.

Vandermeer won Wednesday’s byelection with 273 votes, compared with challenger Chuck Shipley’s 182.

“I’m pleased with the outcome,” said Vandermeer on Thursday, noting the solid voter turnout.

“It shows that you can get people out to a byelection. It’s often hard to get people out for a byelection.

“The people recognized that it is important to participate in the democratic process if you want your voice heard.”

Last month, a Court of Queen’s Bench justice declared the seat vacant and ordered a new runoff between Vandermeer and challenger Shipley to resolve a dispute over the outcome of the October municipal election.

On election night, the unofficial results had Shipley squeaking by incumbent Vandermeer by a single vote — 184 to 183. A recount gave the win to Vandermeer with 183 votes to 181.

The difference was three ballots that were deemed spoiled because they did not include the returning officer’s initials. All three votes were for Vandermeer.

Shipley, a former two-term councillor from 2001 to 2007, took issue with the recount and launched the legal action that led to the byelection.

Vandermeer is expected to be sworn in at the next council meeting on Tuesday.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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