The candidate who received the fewest votes in February’s Langley City council byelection says she plans to launch a court challenge of the results.
Serena Oh received 57 votes, the least of any of the nine candidates and well behind the 740 received by the winner.
In the Feb. 27 byelection, Nathan Pachal won with 740 of the 2,074 votes cast. Kiernan Hillan took the bulk of the remaining votes with 557.
Oh believes that she received a minimum of 1,500 votes, which would amount to almost 75 per cent of all the votes cast.
“I won at least twice as many as Nathan,” Oh said.
Oh said the only way to prove fraud would be a post-election audit, and said she would request that ballots not be disposed of.
She said she would go to court over the election and would represent herself.
“Most judges, they don’t actually know the law, I find,” Oh commented.
At present, Oh said she is trying to gather signatures from people who will say they voted for her. She told the Langley Advance she has more than 57.
Oh said the election was “manipulated.”
She is convinced that she had the support of numerous locals, and said she believes that people from business owners to clerks and cashiers to seniors to homeless people were backing her bid for City council.
City Mayor Ted Schaffer has spoken with Oh and does not believe she has shown evidence of problems with the byelection.
“I believe everything was done legally and above board,” Schaffer said. “I totally trust the staff and the system.”
According to a spokesperson for the province’s Ministry for Community, Sport, and Cultural Development, there are only three reasons to challenge an election. One of those is that the Local Government Act rules were not followed, another is that there was vote buying, intimidation, or that people voting when not entitled.
The deadline for a recount has passed, and candidates have 30 days following the declaration of the results to launch an official challenge.
That would give Oh until April 1 to file in court. On Tuesday, Oh said she expected to file in the next few days.
Oh ran in the 2014 civic elections in Langley Township, against incumbent Mayor Jack Froese and former mayor Rick Green.
Oh took 1,255 votes, 5.7 per cent of the total cast.
Before running in the Township mayoral race, Oh, a former realtor, was in a lengthy court battle with the city of Burnaby.
Oh was ordered to remove a kitchen in a North Burnaby duplex, a violation of bylaws against secondary suites in that municipality.
Oh tried to defend herself to Burnaby city council in 2010, then repeatedly appealed the decision, representing herself in court.
After a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling against her, she tried to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but the court declined to hear her case.
In another case, Oh was declared a vexatious litigant.
Vexatious litigation is a pattern of repeatedly launching lawsuits, usually frivolous or unwarranted.
After losing a case against Vancouver Korean Press, a small newspaper, Oh sued the lawyer who had represented the paper.
She alleged fraud and perjury by the lawyer, who in turn asked that Oh be declared a vexatious litigant.
A Court of Appeal judge found in favour of the lawyer and declared Oh a vexatious litigant, awarded the lawyer $5,000, and Oh was banned from starting any legal actions related to the lawyer or Vancouver Korean Press without the leave of a justice of the courts.
Court records show Oh has been involved in several other civil court cases over the years, many of them in small claims court.