Statement from Hartley Lefton on behalf of the Ontario PC Party Leadership Election Organizing CommitteePublished on March 11, 2018
"I would like to congratulate our new Ontario PC Party Leader, Doug Ford, for his election yesterday. Doug’s election was definitive and he will now lead our party into a general election.
"Following a Leadership election, there is a lot of emotion and exhaustion. I would like to thank all of the candidates and their campaigns for the efforts they put forward during this important process. There is energy and excitement in our party, as evidenced over the past six weeks. Our party will be stronger than ever following the conclusion of this election and under Doug’s leadership.
"I would also like to thank the Leadership Election Organizing Committee, a dedicated group of party volunteers, for their efforts. The committee worked tirelessly with integrity and neutrality to implement this process and all of its components. We were supported by an unbelievable team of volunteers and party staff who went above and beyond for our party and for our membership.
"It is no secret that the past six weeks have been a challenging time for our party. We entered previously uncharted territory in having to elect a new leader in unprecedented record time, just months before a provincial election. Starting with the leadership vacancy just forty-five days ago, we developed and implemented a secure, open and transparent election process designed to provide our members with the opportunity to cast a ballot for our next leader and the next premier of Ontario.
"We used a secure process to verify memberships, and then a subsequent secure process to allow 64,053 members to vote individually wherever they may be in the province.
"This process represents a new record of voting turnout in Ontario PC Party history, ahead of the previous high of 44,188 in 2002.
"This voting system is used successfully in hundreds of elections across Canada and the United States each year, and we have the utmost confidence in its security and integrity.
"As part of this process, voters in Port Perry did not have to drive 30 or 40 minutes to Bowmanville. They could vote at home, or from a restaurant, or from their place of work. Voters in the north did not have to drive hours in the cold to a polling place, and then drive hours home in the dark. They could vote in their home community.
"Yesterday, following the tabulation of ballots, a challenge regarding allocation of electoral votes was heard by the Appeals Board and the issue was extensively investigated by the Chief Electoral Officer and the election team. The conclusion of the CEO was that the identified issue would not statistically lead to a change in the outcome of the vote and the Chair of the Appeals Board dismissed the challenge. Our auditor, Deloitte, observed the analysis and approach undertaken by the Chief Electoral Officer and verified the mathematical calculations employed in reaching this conclusion
"Political party leadership elections are not simple. There are numerous rules and complexities involved that are in place to bring integrity to the process for both party members and for candidates. Our now concluded election was no different, in that as an issue arose and there was a process that was followed. We all hoped for a speedy resolution to this issue on March 10, and unfortunately that was not the case. The process had to be followed as the importance of this Leadership election cannot be understated: we are embarking on electing a Premier.
"It is important to note:
- These results are definitive and provide a clear mandate to Doug Ford as outlined in our Party Constitution and the Leadership Election Rules.
- There was no recount at any time.
- There was no issue at any time with the counting and tabulation of ballots.
- A question arose with respect to the allocation of a specific list of voters, and whether they had been assigned to the appropriate riding.
- Upon an exhaustive review of this list as requested by a campaign – and as permitted under the rules – the integrity of this list of electors was reconfirmed and there was no impact on the results.
"Now that we have concluded this election with a clear mandate from our membership for Doug Ford, we can look forward to our party’s big election win on June 7."