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LETTER: Vote recount makes democracy work

'There should be no uncertainty hanging over anyone's head after an election, whether it is the winner or the unsuccessful candidate,' reader says
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following is in response to 'LETTER: Oro-Medonte recount 'unnecessary, wasteful',' published Nov. 19.

A recent letter to the editor published in BarrieToday suggested that the recount of the result of the municipal election in Ward 6 of Oro-Medonte was 'unnecessary and wasteful.'

As a candidate who has won four federal elections — one after a recount — and lost a federal election, I think that the principle of recounts deserves an examination.

I don't intend to deal with the history or the politics of the recount in question, but here are my thoughts on recounts in general.

Making the decision to put your name forward in any election is daunting. You and your family are putting your name and reputation on the line. Running as a serious candidate in a municipal, provincial and federal election takes courage and hard work. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the recent municipal elections. You make democracy work!

Now let's look at the principles of a recount. They apply at all levels, municipal, provincial and federal. After any election, there may be closed contests. The result of those close contests should be confirmed.

Why? Because democracy demands that the result be confirmed. There should be no uncertainty hanging over anyone's head after an election, whether it is the winner or the unsuccessful candidate.

In my recount, I won on election night in 1980 by 77 votes which shrunk to 66 votes after the recount in front of a judge. I still have friends who call me 'Landslide Lewis.'

In the time from election night to the end of the recount and even afterwards, I realized why it was important to go through with a recount from the standpoint of a defeated candidate. 

Every candidate attracts supporters who spend time and effort on behalf of their candidate. Defeated candidates have to be seen to be making every effort to win right down to the last possible move they can make, which is asking for a recount. They owe it to their supporters.

As to who pays for the recount, since the municipality pays for the costs of running the election, why shouldn't it pay for the recount?

Therefore recounts are not unnecessary and wasteful in a close contest.

Doug Lewis