Candidate continues to fight for a new vote in Osoyoos school trustee byelection - InfoNews

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Candidate continues to fight for a new vote in Osoyoos school trustee byelection

Penny Duperron continues her fight for a review of last November's by-election in Okanagan Similkameen School District in which a procedural error resulted in only advance poll being conducted.
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December 29, 2016 - 10:30 AM

PENTICTON - A candidate in last month’s Okanagan Similkameen School District byelection for Osoyoos school trustee gained some ground this week in her fight for a new election.

Penny Duperron came in second to Casey Brouwer in the Nov. 5 election, in which a procedural error occurred that resulted in only one of two required advance polls taking place.

She wanted the school district to step up and correct the issue by conducting another election, but the school district took the view the procedural error did not “materially affect the results of the election” and opted to maintain the status quo.

The B.C. Supreme Court agreed to hear Duperron’s case yesterday, Dec. 28.

“I think it was a pretty good day,” Duperron said following the hearing. She said the school board was “taken to task” for failing to prepare to argue the case on its merits, adding the school board’s lawyer attempted to have the hearing rejected on technical grounds.

“They attempted to do that last week. The judge said he believed they had sufficient notice to be prepared and refused to grant an adjournment. He said they had notice since Dec. 8,” Duperron said.

On Dec. 16, Duperron announced in a media release her intent to petition the B.C. Supreme Court to conduct a review of the election process, noting she spent two weeks trying to get the school district and board to “do the right thing” and initiate its own review.

Duperron said the judge also called the school board’s attitude “cavalier,” ordering them back to court today, prepared to argue the merits of the case.

She said the judge also ordered the school district to pay Duperron $500 to cover her court time.

Duperron says the judge will decide whether a new election is warranted based on arguments heard at today’s hearing.

She says it’s ironic the board has contested her petition to review the election on a minor technicality, but doesn’t feel their own procedural error matters.

Duperron, who finished only 40 votes behind Brouwer, tallied the most votes in the main voting day’s results, but lost the advance poll.

“I’m not sure how they are going to prove it wouldn’t have mattered, that the election wasn’t flawed. If you’re going to say the advance polls don’t matter, then throw the first one’s results out and you’ll have a totally different outcome,” she said.


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