Judge approves Vaughan election challenge
Published Monday, April 2, 2007 6:52PM EDT
Former Vaughan mayor Michael Di Biase will be allowed to mount a court challenge of the results of November's municipal election, which he lost by a mere 94 votes.
Superior Court Justice Peter Howden ruled Monday morning that there is evidence that may affect the outcome of the election. Howden decided to let Di Biase proceed with his case, and quashed the city's effort to have the challenge thrown out.
"I am pleased with the response from Judge Howden -- he validated my application, which is very important," Di Biase told reporters, with his wife by his side.
"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."
Howden took the weekend to review the case before rendering his decision in a Newmarket courtroom.
If Di Biase wins his court challenge, the election results could be ruled invalid and either a hand recount or a new election could be ordered.
Following the election, Di Biase complained about voting irregularities at some polling stations. He won a bid to have a recount, but lost again to bitter rival Linda Jackson.
Jackson is confident the results will stand, but welcomes the scrutiny.
"The cost is immense, not just the financial cost but the mental cost as well, but we'll get through it and move forward," she said.
So far the legal dispute has cost the city $140,000.
The campaign between Jackson and Di Biase was a bitter one, with accusations of computer hacking, bullying, hijacked websites and sign slashing.
The new hearing begins Tuesday at 10 a.m.
With reports from CTV's Galit Solomon and Roger Petersen