Rafferty likely to try federal run again

FORT FRANCES—While a judicial recount Friday ended up showing Liberal incumbent Bill Mauro defeating NDP challenger John Rafferty in the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding by 50 votes, Rafferty said he’s not giving up on politics by any stretch.
“I can’t say for sure right now, but in all likelihood I’ll certainly seek the [federal NDP] nomination for Thunder Bay-Rainy River as things stand right now,” Rafferty noted Monday.
“I haven’t officially done anything yet,” he added. “Who knows when the election might be? It looks like it might be around budget time—at least that’s the talk I hear.”
Prior to the Oct. 10 provincial election, Rafferty ran provincially for the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding in 2003, then the federal Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding in both 2004 and 2006.
Last week’s recount settled any uncertainty stemming form the Oct. 10 results.
“I guess I’m glad the process is finished,” said Rafferty. “I think that since there were some discrepancies, it was important the people in the riding are assured that the judicial recount is the official version.
“I think it will put some minds at ease for voters in Thunder Bay-Atikokan,” he added, noting these “discrepancies” ranged from the varying numbers between vote counts on Oct. 10 and Oct. 12 to the fact some voters weren’t sure where to vote and some First Nations communities didn’t get to vote at all.
“I think there’s enough discrepancies that Elections Ontario needs to revamp the way they do things,” Rafferty charged.
“What really needs to be done is we have to have an actual enumeration, where everybody gets enumerated—that way, everybody will have the opportunity to vote,” he argued.
“I said it during the election and I’ve said it since—we need a full and proper enumeration.
“I think what happens when you don’t have a full enumeration is you go through a couple of elections and everything gets out of whack,” he added, noting changes like I.D. rules, or changing people’s polling station location when it’s been the same for 30 years, doesn’t help voter turnout.
Official results on Oct. 12 had shown Mauro ahead of Rafferty by only 41 votes (10,919 versus 10,878), prompting the Ontario NDP to ask for a judicial recount on Rafferty behalf.
(The initial tally on election night showed a margin of only 16 votes).
Ontario Court Justice Gino Di Giuseppe granted the recount two weeks ago, but then had to decide whether all the votes should be counted or just those from problematic polls.
Justice Di Giuseppe eventually ruled last Tuesday for a recount of all of the some 30,000 ballots cast in the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding, which took place Friday in Thunder Bay.
(Fort Frances Times)