Justice: Elections MLA tackles top court
Some voters think election phoney and want it dumped

by P.J. Harston
Northern News Services

NNSL (OCT 09/96)- The man who narrowly defeated Jeannie Marie-Jewell in the last territorial election is taking on the Supreme court to keep his seat.

Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger (left) is challenging the Supreme Court's jurisdiction in a case that could see a new vote held in the Fort Smith-based riding.

In last October's election, Miltenberger received 607 votes, narrowly defeating incumbent Jeannie Marie-Jewel, who received 571 votes. There were two other candidates in the race.

Less than a month after the election, rumors surfaced alleging election wrong-doing in the South Slave community.

Last November, a petition to have the election voided was filed with the court.

The petition, which is being dealt with by the court's civil branch, asked for the Oct. 16, 1995 Thebacha election to be voided and a new election to be held.

In the petition, 56 Thebacha riding residents allege that a number of irregular and illegal acts may have taken place at polling stations during the election and prior to that during proxy voting.

Last December Mounties seized sealed election documents related to the allegations and turned them over to the court.

Following a series of hearings, those involved in the petition were allowed access to the documents to further pursue their case.

However, Miltenberger is challenging the court's jurisdiction to issue summons in the case, which has now been before the courts for nearly a year.

That challenge is scheduled to go ahead next Monday night in a Fort Smith sitting of the Supreme Court.

A judge is scheduled to hear evidence relating to the petitioners' allegations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada the following day.