Court tosses former Yukon cabinet minister's bid to overturn tie vote

·2 min read

WHITEHORSE — The results of the Yukon election stand after a former cabinet minister who lost her seat in a tie vote also lost her bid to overturn the election result in court.

Liberal Pauline Frost challenged the tie of 78 votes each in the riding of Vuntut Gwitchin with a petition in Yukon Supreme Court days after the drawing of lots determined the winner was her NDP opponent, Annie Blake.

Frost, who was the incumbent, alleged a man who was in prison and voted in the riding wasn't eligible because he didn't meet the residency requirement.

However, Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan says election officials acted in accordance with the Elections Act, applying the correct guidelines to the prisoner's residency.

The result of the election left Liberal Premier Sandy Silver tied with the Yukon Party at eight seats each, but Silver struck a deal with the NDP allowing him to form government.

Neither Frost nor her lawyer was immediately available for comment.

Duncan ruled in a decision posted online Thursday that to declare the election invalid and the office vacant based on the man's inability to vote in the district would be a denial of his right to vote.

"Such an outcome would be a triumph of formality and process over substance, an approach that is prohibited by the Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence," the decision says.

The evidence of the jailed voter's ties to the riding support his intention to live there at a later date, Duncan says.

In dismissing the challenge, she says there was no evidence of any fraud or dishonesty on the voter's part in relation to his eligibility to vote, his identity or his residence.

"The actions of the officials in this case were consistent with this purpose and consistent with upholding the Charter-protected right to vote," she says in conclusion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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