Judge rules court hearing in Vaughan, Ontario; votes disputed

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Superior Court Justice Peter Howden has decided to let former Vaughan, Ontario mayor Michael Di Biase bring his case again to court after claims of uncounted votes in last November's mayoral election that he lost to current Mayor Linda Jackson.

In 2002, Mr. Di Biase served as interim mayor of the city after former mayor Lorna Jackson died. He was then elected to mayor in the 2003 municipal election.

Mr. Di Biase ran against deceased mayor Lorna Jackson's daughter Linda Jackson last November but lost by 94 votes. After the results accounced that he lost, he requested a full recount and then brought it to the Ontario Superior Court to declare the votes illegal and void. The judge said some votes we not counted nor were some voters even on the voters list at the time.

The City of Vaughan put forward a motion to leave the case but Justice Peter Howden ruled against it yesterday. "There are serious issues here that may well affect the outcome of the election."

This new decision could let another hand recount of the votes or a complete by-election be called if Di Biase wins his case.

"I am pleased with the response from Judge Howden, he validated my application, which is very important," Di Biase said yesterday. "Democracy is very important and the integrity of every vote counts. I want to make sure that every citizen has the right to vote and that their vote will count."

The court hearing will start on Tuesday.