Friday, June 14, 2024

Saanich council candidate requests recount after losing by 11 votes


Rishi Sharma was a candidate for Saanich council, but he was just 11 votes shy of winning a seat.

Eight councillors were elected on October 15th, and Teale Phelps Bondaroff beat out Sharma for the eighth seat by a very slim margin.  

Of the almost 91,000 eligible voters in Saanich, nearly 28,000 votes were cast. Phelps Bondaroff had a total of 9,218 and Sharma had 9,207.

“I’m of course very disappointed with the results of election night,” Sharma told Victoria Buzz. “We were ahead most of the night until the last three polls closed and we were down 11.”

“A recount was just a common-sense next step.”

Sharma’s team and lawyer had to put in an affidavit with the BC court system to get a recount permitted through official government channels. 

Now that those papers have been served, a judge must determine if a recount is necessary and achievable.

Sharma found out on Monday that Phelps Bondaroff has hired a lawyer to fight against the recount that he wants, hoping to keep his council seat.

“He’s not happy with the recount going forward, so he’s hired a lawyer. His lawyer is suggesting I pay the cost for everything,” said Sharma. “His lawyer cost, the recount cost, the staff cost, everything.”

Some Saanich residents have been encouraging Sharma to go ahead with the recount as he would be the first Indo-Canadian or South-Asian Canadian elected in Saanich since 1906.

With that in mind, Sharma has been continuing his fight for a recount; but as the set-backs continue to stack against his cause he is losing steam with every passing day. 

“I’m tired! It’s exhausting,” exclaimed Sharma. “We had a huge, steep hill to climb in the beginning because I’m not getting any endorsements and there’s never been a South-Asian elected.” 

“We knew it was really really tough and to come within 11 we were so proud.”

“It’s just becoming very burdensome and I just want to get back to my life with my kids and coaching.”

A court date was set for a decision to be made on the morning of October 24th, but the judge had not yet made a decision. The judge decided to defer their decision to 9:30 a.m.Tuesday, October 25th.

Curtis Blandy

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