Questions about voting procedures have been raised following the outcome of Sooke’s byelection. (file photo)

Questions circulate on Sooke voting irregularities

The process relies largely on the voters telling the truth, says official

In the wake of last weekend’s civic byelection in Sooke, a complaint has been lodged with the chief electoral officer claiming voting procedures were unacceptable and open the door to voter fraud.

Sooke resident Josh Burneau raised his concern in an email to Carolyn Mushata, the district’s chief electoral officer, on Monday.

Burneau went to vote Saturday when he noticed his parent’s names (listed next to his) were still on the list and had not been crossed off.

As he was aware his parents had voted in the advance poll, he asked how this was possible.

“I was told that there is more than one list and that when you sign by your name you’re saying that you haven’t already voted,” Burneau said.

“The way I see it, that means that people could have voted three times with two advance voting opportunities and the vote on election day.”

The email response the Burneau family received from Mushata did little to allay their concerns.

RELATED: Election results official

It read, in part: “In accordance with section 126 of the Local Government Act, each voter must make a solemn declaration in order to receive their ballot. This declaration states that they are not disqualified from voting and that they have not previously voted in this election.”

Melanie Burneau, Josh’s mom, was not happy with that response, asking: “So you just take a voters word that they didn’t previously vote?”

Mushata told the Sooke News Mirror that, while it was possible that someone who was willing to make a false declaration may have voted more than once, she had never seen it happen.

“I’ve audited many elections and never once have I seen that happen,” Mushata said.

She added given the Burneau’s complaint an audit of the byelection might be conducted but would not commit to that step being taken.

“I’ll be away until Monday, and when I get back we’ll look at it, but there’s no guarantee we’ll do it, and there’s no time-line for that sort of thing. It could take some time if we choose to do it.”

And while the system appears to rely largely on the honesty of voters and their respect for the process, the incidence of voter fraud is not unknown.

In 2018 the RCMP reported that they found 67 fraudulent applications to vote by mail in Surrey, and at the same time the City of Vancouver released a statement saying they were aware of fraudulent activities in Richmond, Burnaby, and Vancouver.

The News Mirror reached out to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, which has jurisdiction over local elections, but did not receive an immediate reply.

Saturday’s byelection was decided in favour of Dana Lajeunesse by a margin of only three votes.

There have been no specific allegations of voter fraud in Sooke’s election or any indications that such fraud took place.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Delays expected on Interurban Road due to wastewater treatment project in Saanich

Traffic down to a single alternating lane until Sunday evening

Last week for first year of Oak Bay deer contraception campaign

Crew working to administer second booster to all 60 does

West Shore RCMP bust seizes $50,000 worth of drugs

More than 300 grams of cocaine and crack-cocaine seized in Victoria

Downtown Victoria tea shop switches to plastic tea bags

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee says the transition is temporary

Indigenous artist challenges people to re-assess environments with new project

The ‘Indigenous Illuminations’ transforms the ordinary into something new

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Kamloops man hangs on to back of stolen truck as suspect speeds away, crashes

The pickup truck was seen leaving the roadway before bursting into flames

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Most Read