Getting out to vote can make a big difference in any election.
That proved to be true Monday in Alberton, where the race for reeve saw Mike Ford defeat incumbent Mike Hammond by just four votes (176-172).
Prior to the election, the Alberton council had passed a policy that stated if the difference between the top two candidates was 10 votes or less, an automatic recount would take place on the spot immediately following the initial count.
A recount was held and the outcome was re-confirmed around 11:30 p.m. on Monday.
“I strive to have the highest degree of integrity that we can,” said Alberton clerk Dawn Hayes.
“And that’s part of the reason that it took so long for the count to get done [Monday] night because we wanted to make sure that everything was very transparent and there was no issues,” she stressed.
As the newly-elected reeve, Ford understands the importance of having a strong voting turnout, which he had emphasized during the campaign.
“I stressed that this election was going to be decided on voter turnout and it appears that’s how it was defined,” he remarked.
This year’s election in Alberton wasn’t the only time where voter turnout played a crucial role in the outcome. Back in 2006, Hammond beat Ford for the reeve’s seat by just 12 votes.
Ford, who has been on Alberton council since 2001, is eager to take his place as reeve and begin investigating partnerships to create residential development for the township.
“We got to attract families into the township,” he stressed.
With an increasing number of federally- and provincially-mandated programs eating up large chunks of the township’s budget, Ford is focused on increasing Alberton’s tax base by keeping and bringing in new families.
One of the key skills the new reeve brings to the position is effective communication.
“I’ve always been a well-spoken member of council, and have always been able to express my opinions and my views effectively,” he noted.
He said his ability to hear all sides of an issue–and weigh them objectively–is another quality he holds.
“I don’t go in with any pre-conceived notions [or] that my opinion is the only opinion,” Ford said.
“Discussion is healthy.”
Ford is looking forward to working with the new Alberton council, which will hold its inaugural meeting on Dec. 3 so all the members can be sworn in.
The regular meeting of the new council then is scheduled for Dec. 12.
While Hammond was hoping to serve another term as reeve, he’s happy to pass the torch on to Ford.
“I’m old enough to retire,” he reasoned. “I’ve been in there long enough. It’s time for a change.”