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Candidate defends allegation of irregularities in Manitoba Tory leadership vote

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WINNIPEG — An unsuccessful Manitoba Progressive Conservative leadership candidate has defended her allegations that there were irregularities in the vote won by her rival for the premier's chair and has doubled down on her belief that the final tally was incorrect.

"It's unfathomable for me to think of how we got to that number," Shelly Glover said during cross-examination of her affidavit in Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday.

Glover, who narrowly lost to Heather Stefanson on Oct. 30, wants a judge to order a new vote.

She said she doesn't believe the count total by party election officials, which found she received 49 per cent of the vote.

When the final results were announced, the ballots totalled 16,546. Stefanson won 51 per cent to become Tory leader and premier, replacing Brian Pallister who resigned in September.

Glover and her team have pointed to a spreadsheet they received earlier that morning as proof that the number of votes was lower. Glover told court the sheet included the names of 16,045 people who voted.

A former member of Parliament, Glover said she did not observe votes being counted. But since the election, she said, she has recounted the total and believes the spreadsheet contains the right number.

"I believe it's correct."

Party leadership has said that the vote was fair.

Party president Tom Wiebe told court Monday that campaign leaders were aware the spreadsheet was never intended to be the final tally. During cross-examination of his affidavit, Wiebe defended the count and said "that spreadsheet was … strictly to tell them who had voted."

Much of Tuesday's cross-examination focused on members of Glover's campaign team and how they analyzed the spreadsheet, other documents and emails to conclude that voting irregularities had taken place.

Harley Schachter, lawyer for the Progressive Conservative party, posed to Glover's team that there were errors in the spreadsheet, so it was clearly not meant to be used as a reflection of the total vote.

The reading of numbers by Glover's campaign also doesn't add up, he said.

Schachter also questioned allegations by Kevin Cook, a scrutineer for Glover's campaign, who said in an affidavit that he saw unsecured ballot boxes being moved out of the room where votes were counted.

Cook said he didn't know the men who moved the ballot boxes and he was not informed whether they were with a security firm hired to guard the votes.

Cook also told court he "observed a couple girls crying" after the votes were tallied. But, when questioned, he confirmed he did not know who they were or why they were upset.

Glover's challenge is scheduled for arguments before a judge on Dec. 10.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2021.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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