It has taken several court proceedings and began with a painstaking recount in a Montreal courtroom, but Agostino Cannavino’s paper-thin victory in the November 2014 school board elections has been confirmed by Quebec Superior Court.
At issue was the hotly contested vote that gave Dominic Furfaro the seat with a lead of 11 votes (743 to 732). Cannavino argued the results were invalid due to several irregularities and a recount ordered and overseen by Quebec Justice Antonio de Michele resulted in Cannavino declared winner by a three-vote margin.
Furfaro ran for Team Mancini, which won a comfortable majority on council, and contested that outcome, seeking an appeal which was declined by Quebec’s appeal court in 2015, refusing to reverse Michele’s verdict. The case went back to Superior court again and ultimately, Quebec Judge Yves Poirier ruled last week that Cannavino’s victory stands, and he is the elected commissioner for Ward 6, ordering Furfaro to pay all court fees.
At issue were rejected ballots; ballots lacking initials by scrutineers who testified that they had no idea how that could have happened; ballots unsecured in boxes; ballots marked so they could presumably identify voters and more.
Indeed, on election night a person was seen hauling garbage bags from a car up the front steps of EMSB headquarters. When asked by a reporter about the contents, the individual confirmed that the remaining bags in the open trunk of her car were more ballots, before entering the building and leaving the bags unsecured and unattended in the open trunk in the EMSB driveway for at least three minutes.
Election director Pierre-Yves Bezzaz was also castigated by the judge during that first recount over the lack of proper handling of materials and lack of preparation for court.
“I’m glad it’s finally over” Cannavino said. “However, one must ask themselves the question if there was really another motive to go through this ordeal. Legal costs are much more than what the job pays.”