Six win council seats on election day in Hay River

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After the votes were counted in the Oct. 15 municipal election, just six of eight seats on town council were filled, even though there were nine candidates.

The final two seats were to be filled by a recount on Oct. 16, after The Hub’s deadline.

The three candidates with the lowest vote counts were separated by just three votes and an automatic recount occurs when the spread is less than four votes.

“There were six definitive councillors who got in,” said returning officer Heather Coakwell, after the initial count on election night.

Steve Anderson, an incumbent councillor, led the way with 809 votes.

Steve Anderson: incumbent councillor was the top vote-getter in the Oct. 15 municipal election. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo.
Steve Anderson: incumbent councillor was the top vote-getter in the Oct. 15 municipal election. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo.

The other winning candidates were Linda Duford with 725 votes; incumbent Keith Dohey, 655 votes; Robert Bouchard, 631 votes; Emily Chambers, 617 votes; and Brian Willows, 576 votes.

The recount involved Jeffery Groenewegen, who collected 454 votes; Joe Melanson, 452 votes; and Sandra Lester, 451 votes.

“That is the closest that I have probably ever seen it,” said Coakwell, who has run elections for about 20 years.

Anderson said it was very satisfying to be top vote-getter, noting he was acclaimed to council three years ago.

“So it’s nice to actually have an election and it’s tremendous to see the amount of votes that I’ve got,” he said. “That’s really appreciated.”

Duford, who finished second, was also very happy.

“It’s my first time running for anything,” she said. “So I was just amazed, actually. Just flattered.”

The turnout was slightly under 40 per cent – 915 people voted from the 2,289 on the voters list, plus some who were added on election day.

There was no election for mayor. Kandis Jameson was acclaimed to replace Mayor Brad Mapes, who did not seek re-election.

Seven members were also elected to the Hay River District Education Authority out of a field of nine candidates. The new DEA consists of Mark Harris, Nikki Ashton, Pennie Pokiak, Lisa Ruggles, Jamie Hunt, Glen McPhee and Annette Rupert.