Friday, June 14, 2024

Île d’Orléans: His name comes out of the hat and he becomes mayor!

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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Face-to-face with his opponent, after a judicial recount failed to determine the winner, Jean Lapointe finally defeated the outgoing mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Lille d’Orleans thanks to … an independent in the judge’s hat!

The suspense, which lasted for more than two weeks, ended late Tuesday afternoon in a Quebec City courthouse with an extraordinary show.

“Mister Usher, do you know where my office is?” “Go and get my hat,” said Judge Christian Botin, setting the stage for a lottery to be held, as provided by law, in order to determine a winner in the event of a tie.

Earlier in the day, the election secretary said she planned the hit by bringing “25 cents if we get there” with her, so she could flip a coin. Others joked about a hypothetical part of arm wrestling or a bare-hand fight to determine the winner at the end of a very tight fight.

After some discussion about how to proceed, Jean Lapointe’s name, written on a piece of paper folded in eight, was drawn at random from the judge’s hat. This surreal scenario arose from the result of the analysis – which had been conducted a little earlier – of a few rejected ballot papers, which had been the subject of litigation in a Quebec court.

327 votes each

Jean Lapointe – a truck driver who has served as a consultant in recent years – was announced as the winner on November 7 with a single vote. But on Tuesday the judge allocated an additional vote to his opponent, outgoing mayor Jean-Claude Beaulieu, thus confirming equality between the two men who collected 327 votes each.

The controversial ballot, which was rejected on election night, had circles superimposed in pencil around the small white circle, which actually indicated the “intent” to vote for Mr Beaulieu, the judge’s ruling declared valid.

As stipulated in Article 256 of The Law on Respect for Elections and Referendums in Municipalities (LERM), only the drawing of lots can determine the declared candidate in the event of a tie.

“I found it difficult and painful. The elections were long. It was tiring. I am happy with the result but (electing) a mayor by lot is not the best. The new mayor of Saint-Jean apparently responded. The defeated, farmer Jean-Claude Beaulieu, who was mayor for 24 A year, he pressed him before leaving the courtroom, visibly disappointed with the result.

Several records

Although rare, such a scenario is not unique and does not happen from time to time. Last week, a councilman from the town of Bedford, in Estery, was also elected after a tie. Frans Groulkes and Bruce Deecham were neck and neck at the end of the judicial recount. It was Madame Gruelex who was finally favored by chance.

In 2017, Gladys Driscoll also won St. Augustine Town Hall – on the Lower North Coast – after a tie. At least three other municipal councilors in different Quebec regions were elected in this way four years ago.

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