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Vision Vancouer nomination battle goes to recount after high turnout

Vision Vancouver's seemingly never-ending nomination race has still not ended. Recounts will be required to determine the final seats on the centre-left party's council and school board slates.

More than 4,500 Visionites turned out in the rain to cast ballots at Charles Tupper Secondary school on Saturday. That’s more than ten times the number who voted at last week’s low-key Non-Partisan Association meeting.

As a result of a two-week-old co-operation deal with the Council of Progressive Electors (COPE) and the Green Party of Vancouver, Vision members were forced to winnow a field of 37 contenders down to only 16 nominees for council, school and park board. All three left-leaning civic parties are supporting Vision mayoral nominee Gregor Robertson.

Seven candidates won slots on Vision's council slate: incumbents George Chow, Heather Deal, Raymond Louie and Tim Stevenson will be joined by hard-charging newcomers Kerry Jang, Geoff Meggs and Andrea Reimer.

A recount will be conducted to confirm the 8th place finish of Kashmir Dhaliwal, who was only 17 votes ahead of 9th-place finisher David Eby. Dhaliwal ran as part of a the successful Jang-Reimer slate; Eby ran an independent campaign focused largely on providing solutions to Vancouver's homelessness problem. Vision co-chair Mike Magee said the automatic recount would be completed within 72 hours.

Coun. Raymond Louie, a co-founder of the three-year-old party, was the day's top vote-getter. Louie endorsed Dhaliwal, but also spoke highly of Eby.

"Both candidates are tremendous leaders within their respective communities," Louie said. "No matter which of them wins the recount, Vision and Vancouver will be well served."

Three candidates won slots on Vision's school board slate: Patti Bacchus, Sharon Gregson and Mike Lombardi.

A second recount will review Ken Clement's eight-vote lead over Stepan Vdovine for the fourth school board slot. Clement is reportedly the city's first aboriginal school-board candidate.

And four candidates won slots on Vision's park board slate: Constance Barnes, Sarah Blyth, Raj Hundal and Aaron Jasper.

The Coalition of Progressive Electors will nominate its slate on September 28. COPE is expected to put forward two candidates for city council, five for school board, and two for parks board.

The Green Party of Vancouver has also agreed to the three-party deal. A Green school board contender has reportedly withdrawn from the race, and Stuart Mackinnon is regarded as the frontrunner for the Greens’ slot on the park board slate.

Monte Paulsen is editor of The Hook.

For play-by-play coverage of today's Vision Vancouver nomination, see Frances Bula's blog.

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