Councillor Maria Augimeri speaking at an event earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Augimeri’s Flickr stream.
Three weeks ago, a judge ordered that a by-election be held in Ward 9 (York Centre). The decision was in response to a civil suit launched by Gus Cusimano, who finished a close second in that ward behind incumbent Maria Augimeri (the margin of victory was just 89 votes). Cusimano alleged that there were irregularities in the voters list which invalidated the results from last fall’s municipal election.
When that verdict first came down, lawyers for the City said they would likely appeal the decision. Today, however, Toronto City Clerk Ulli Watkiss announced that the City had reconsidered, and would not, in fact, be appealing the decision. “The decision to proceed with a by-election and resolve this matter as quickly as possible is in the best interest of the public, the individuals directly affected, and the workings of Council,” Watkiss said in a press release issued a few minutes ago.
Mayor Rob Ford had been urging City staff to let the by-election go forward without delay, saying that the judge’s decision should stand without appeal. Ford also endorsed Cusimano in last year’s election, and is expected to support him in this by-election as well.
Voters in ward 9 will go to the polls on July 25, as will voters in wards 7 and 8—they will be casting ballots for TDSB trustee, as the results in that race were also declared invalid by the Ontario Superior Court.