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VOCO Updates

April 4, 2007: Mail-in ballot update

      City of Kawartha Lakes clerk Judy Currins has completed her report on the problems encountered in the 2006 Municipal election.

      Among the horror stories in her report: 5677 "improperly completed voter kits", more than 4000 voter kits returned unopened, and more than 300 ballots ("yellow envelopes") returned to the election office after the election. To put this in perspective, that means at least 9977 "lost ballots", in an election in which the total number of votes cast for all mayoralty candidates was 27,251. Do the math!

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Jan. 19, 2007: Mail-in Ballots

VOCO has been told that Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen is interested in feedback regarding the mail-in voting used in the recent municipal elections. Send your comments to:

        Kevin Raymond,
        777 Bay St, 17th floor,
        Toronto, ON
        M5G 2E5
        Tel : 416-585-7000
        Fax : 416-585-6470
Some of the issues:

  1. Ballots were not secure
    (Note that in a Federal election it is a criminal offence to remove a ballot from the voting booth).
    Ballots were sent in the mail, so could be used by anyone into whose hands they fell.
    • Ballots discarded in a post office etc. could be picked up and used
    • Ballots received in a home could be used by any one resident without the knowledge of the intendend recipient(s)
    • Ballots sent in error (eg. voter has moved or died) could be used


  2. Voters were not guaranteed security or privacy

    Ontario Municipal Elections Act Par 49 (2):
    No person shall,
    (a) interfere or attempt to interfere with an elector who is marking the ballot;
    (b) obtain or attempt to obtain, at a voting place, information about how an elector intends to
    vote or has voted; or
    (c) communicate any information obtained at a voting place about how an elector intends to vote or has voted. 1996, c. 32,


    • the traditional voting booth ensures both security and privacy. This is no such guarantee in a mail-in ballot. Voters may be "helped", coerced, or, as mentioned before, may not even see their ballots. There is nothing to prevent parents voting for children, husbands for wives, landlords for tenants, ...


  3. Votes weren't counted because they arrived after the deadline. Post Office employees have confirmed that many ballots were still in the mails on the day after election day.
    • ballots were a week late being mailed out
    • the Post Office was closed on voting day (Remembrance Day)


  4. The Voters' List, based on MPAC data, was very inaccurate.
    • many voters did not receive their ballots.
    • many voters received multiple ballots
    • many ballots were sent to voters who have moved or died.
    • having a name removed from the voters list is not simple (nor should it be). A Death Certificate is required if the voter has died.


  5. The percentage of spoiled / rejected ballots in some areas reached 20%.
    • Of the 133 municipalities holding mail-in elections, 78 used used voters kits prepared by DataFix, 55 used kits from Canada Post. While the highest rejection rates occured in the municipalities using DataFix kits, both kits produced more rejections than would be normal, or acceptable, in a walk-in election.


  6. Voters were treated unequally. For example, there was one "walk-in" polling station for the entire City of Kawartha Lakes (area 3059 sq. km). Many voters assumed, based on wording on the ballots, that they would be able to vote in person on election day, but were unable to do so because of time or transportation constraints.


  7. "Voter turnout" statistics are meaningless, because of the inaccurate Voters' List.
    • a voter who received two ballots, and used just one, would reduce the voter turnout (ie. 50% turnout). Using both ballots would achieve 100% turnout, but constitute fraud.
    • ballots sent to voters who had moved or died may have just been discarded, also reduce voter turnout statistics.


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