WINNIPEG - Elections Canada is revealing what went wrong during Marty Morantz’s election win after a review of the counting error that led to a 436-ballot discrepancy.
An initial total had the Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley incumbent winning over Liberal candidate Doug Eyolfson by only 24 votes, which would have automatically triggered a recount, overseen by a judge, of the riding's more than 45,573 ballots. Elections Canada says the mistaken number was in part due to a poll worker not putting the names of the federal candidates in proper order before numbers were entered. The non-partisan agency says scrutineers from both campaigns brought concerns to their attention.
During the fallout ballot processing, it even briefly seemed as though Eyolfson had won the riding. A week after the election, Morantz was verified to have won by 460 votes.
The problem started on Election Day, Monday, September 20. Based on observations by scrutineers, Morantz’s campaign had found they were winning by over 400 votes. Elections Canada said their margin was a lot smaller. On Tuesday, Elections Canada began counting special ballots to ensure no one who had dropped off or mailed in their ballot had also voted in person.
The agency eventually discovered data entered at a returning office hadn’t been sorted alphabetically, leading to Morantz being given NDP candidate Madelaine Dwyer's numbers, as counts were entered into a spreadsheet in the wrong order. A poll number had also been incorrectly entered into a spreadsheet as results were reported by telephone, causing those totals to change by 900 votes.
Campaign representatives on both sides say they aren’t objecting to the concluded election outcome or accusing polling staff of doing anything suspicious.