Single vote decides rural Alberta town mayor


It was one of the tightest races in Alberta, coming down to just a single vote. On Monday, Parrish Tung became a five term mayor for Elk Point by the slimmest of margins.

Tung won with 233 votes. His only opponent, Terri Hampson received 232 after a recount.

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“You’re grateful for everyone who voted, not just those who voted for me, but for everyone who exercised their right to vote,” Tung said.

“It just goes to prove that every vote does count.”

Tung served on Elk Point council one term as a councillor, and four times as mayor before being voted out last term. Tung said he was defeated by one of his best friends.

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“Last time he beat me decisively, he beat me to a 2:1 margin, and this one… the town has never experienced such a tight vote.”

Tung said he is happy to win, but it also means the town is divided.

“Unfortunately, we did divide the town and it is my job now to unite the town together.”

Hampson describes the experience as a rollercoaster. She just served her first term as councillor for Elk Point. While she respects the democratic process, she said it is still a tough experience to be defeated.

“Having one vote there is no winner. We both have a lot to do.”

Hampson said she is going to use these next four years to advocate for the town and continue to do what she can. She hopes residents who did vote this year will reconsider in the next election.

“It’s a good pause for everyone to go that yes, your vote does matter. Getting out and exercising your responsibility to vote does matter,” Hampson said.

“There is a reason for everything, we will just keep moving forward.”

Elk Point chief administrative officer Ken Gwozdz said this tight race shows democracy works.

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“Both candidates were very strong, very passionate about the community, and the residents felt that and they came out and voted,” Gwozdz said.

Gwozdz said if the race ended up being a tie, the town would have had to draw a name.

“It is quite difficult because it doesn’t leave it in the hands of the public,” he said. “It leaves it in the hands of the returning officer and there is a lot pressure on that. It is better that the decision is made by the residents, by the public.”

“I knew the race was going to be close, but to come down to one vote, that is a record for Elk Point.”



© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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