The next leader of the Ontario PC will be announced today afternoon. Party members are counting more than 64,000 digital ballots cast in Markham today.
At 10 a.m., Michael Ford, Toronto city councillor and nephew of leadership candidate Doug Ford, said he and scrutineers from the three other campaigns entered a room with as many as 10 paper ballot counting machines.
The digital votes were printed on paper and run through the machines.
A senior party official speaking on background said the digital votes are put on printed ballots to ensure accuracy and to leave a physical record of the result.
Each of the four candidates is allowed to send as many as 14 scrutineers to review the results. The scrutineers observe the process and are allowed to make complaints if they see something occur that would negatively impact their candidate. The candidates themselves are not allowed in the room.
Ford said the paper ballots have been printed, but a final count is scheduled for 12 p.m.
Once the final count is complete, everyone in the room will know who won the leadership.
Scrutineers will then be sequestered so as to not spill the beans before the official announcement, expected at around 3 p.m. Saturday.
Voters chose this week between Ford, former MPP and bureaucrat Christine Elliott, lawyer and investment advisor Caroline Mulroney and social conservative activist Tanya Granic Allen.
The race was prompted by former leader Patrick Brown’s resignation on Jan. 25 after two women accused him of sexual misconduct.