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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

UVic closes Finnerty Gardens and popular dog park Cedar Corner

Regular dog walkers to Cedar Corner sent elsewhere during pandemic

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

Art galleries innovate in a time of crisis

The pandemic crisis has forced most local art galleries to shift online,… Continue reading

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read