Two candidates running for a council seat in the Rural Municipality of Swift Current saw their campaigns end with an act of random chance.
When the final votes were tallied in Wednesday’s election, Chad Salter and Chad Tait, running in Division 5, were tied with 54 votes each.
Election regulations in the province dictate that in the event of a tie, the returning officer, in the presence of another individual, write the names of a candidate on separate pieces of paper and select a winner by withdrawing a name from a “receptacle.”
In Wednesday’s draw, Salter emerged the victor.
“At that point I was grateful to be the one, but it really was a numbers thing,” said Salter. “It came down to really not even a vote, because it was purely a luck thing.”
Salter will join two other first-time councillors and returning reeve Robert Neufeld.
“It’s archaic or whatever you want to call it. I guess it brings everything to a head. The decision is made that night and that’s the way it is,” said Neufeld, who was re-elected to his second term as reeve in the RM, defeating Trent Regier.
In the RM, divisions 3 and 5 saw more than one candidates vie for a council seat, while the division 1 seat was acclaimed.
In elections in Saskatchewan’s 296 rural municipalities on Wednesday, large numbers of the reeve and council positions were acclaimed. Election results are available online on the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities website.
“I think this is probably the largest turnout we’ve had in a municipal election,” said Neufeld of the RM of Swift Current, where candidates debated the RM’s relationship with the neighbouring city.
“Each municipality, the RM and the city wants to maintain their own identity, but that being said you’ve got to figure out a way to coexist,” said Salter.
“One can’t be the bully and take advantage of the other, but through some negotiations, I think that you can solve the bulk of those problems.”
Fair compensation for the proposed annexation of RM land by the city and non-resident user fees for recreational facilities inside the city were contentious issues for residents, said Neufeld.
Swift Current mayor Jerrod Schafer will return to his post after being acclaimed.
“I campaigned out there that we can co-operate with the city, but not on the backs of the rural rate payers,” said Neufeld.