By Lisa Rutledge, Times Staff
Feb 02, 2011 – 4:33 PM
Application thrown out on technicality
A fight for a municipal election do-over has been thwarted by serious legal setbacks, but the two residents driving the battle say it’s not over yet.
Cambridge’s Thomas Vann and Debbie Vitez had filed an application in Kitchener’s Superior Court demanding that results of October’s municipal election be scrapped due to insufficient accessibility to voting polls.
However, due to a technicality, their application was thrown out. Their case didn’t appear on a court schedule because they didn’t know they had to phone
to confirm their appearance days before the Jan. 13 date. Although a court clerk said they had a chance to state their case for the court, the judge decided
not to hear their application and has since struck it down.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, admitted Vann. He said the two took up the torch because seniors and the physically challenged didn’t have fair access
to voting because they couldn’t manage long waits in voting lines. He and Vitez have maintained there were too few polling stations and locations.
“I felt disappointed for them as well as for myself,” he said.
But Vann is determined not to wave the white flag just yet.
“I’m not giving up,” he said.
“There are other options out there.”
Plans are underway to try to get their application heard by the courts again, but a new motion must be filed.
And Cambridge lawyers are ready.
“The city is prepared for the application, if it should proceed,” stated the city’s lawyer Steve Matheson.
He said the city had asked for additional time to sort through Vann’s and Vitez’s application.
“Frankly, the discombobulated nature of the material necessitated additional work for the city in trying to decipher what arguments and facts were being
put forward by the applicants as grounds for their application,” said Matheson.
The application documents were prepared without legal assistance, as Vann and Vitez are personally funding costs and say they can’t afford lawyer fees.
Vann, who ran for a seat on Cambridge city council in the October election, said that even if efforts to force a new election are successful he still wouldn’t
put his name on the ballot.
“I have no intention of running again and that’s not why I’m doing this,” he said.
“My biggest goal is to get some resolution so that this never happens again.”