CORRECTED-Canada top court rejects bid to overturn constituency election

Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:18am EDT
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(Corrects 2nd paragraph to say 52,794 voted in the district, not that they voted for the Conservative candidate)

* Liberal had challenged victory by Conservative candidate

* Conservative won constituency by 26 votes

* Election officials made errors; no fraud alleged

* Conservative government retains substantial majority

OTTAWA, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The Supreme Court of Canada upheld on Thursday the election of a Conservative member of Parliament whose narrow victory was challenged by his Liberal opponent on the grounds that election officials had mistakenly allowed some people to vote.

The court ruled that administrative errors by Elections Canada officials should not disenfranchise the 52,794 citizens who voted i n a west-end Toronto electoral district in the 2011 general election. Conservative candidate Ted Opitz won the constituency by 26 votes.

"It should be remembered that annulling an election would disenfranchise not only those persons whose votes were disqualified, but every elector who voted in the riding," the court said in its 4-3 decision.

There was no allegation of fraud or corruption, but Liberal challenger Boris Wrzesnewskyj had said there were enough irregularities that the result in the district should be overturned. An Ontario court had agreed with him and had handed him the victory, but the Supreme Court of Canada overturned that ruling on Thursday.   Continued...