A candidate in the October 2018 Chase mayoral election who feels it was unfair due to procedural errors is lobbying the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to change the rules governing local elections.
Beverley Iglesias, who placed third in the mayoral race, had previously made and then withdrew a legal challenge of the election’s legitimacy, on the grounds that some people who were ineligible to vote cast ballots.
“Upon reviewing handwritten voters’ lists, many errors and irregularities in voter qualifications were revealed. Voter fraud became apparent. A petition to declare the election invalid was presented to the Village of Chase Chief Election Officer, to no avail,” Iglesias’ letter to Minister Selina Robinson reads.
She suggested confusion over who was eligible to vote may have led to some of the supposedly illegitimate votes; in her letter she proposes measures to curtail this in future elections.
Iglesias’ letter suggests that use of the provincial voters list as the register of eligible resident voters should be made mandatory for provincial elections. Section 76 of the local government act already allows municipalities to pass bylaws using the provincial list of voters as their register of resident electors. She notes that Elections BC operates an online registration system which residents planning to vote in municipal elections could also be encouraged to use.
In her letter, Iglesias suggests to the minister that voters registering on election day should have to provide two pieces of ID. She also said registration should take place at a separate table from the one where ballots are handed out to avoid confusion.
Iglesias stressed that the margins in the Chase election were very tight, making every vote count. There was only an 11-vote deficit separating Mayor Rod Crowe and the nearest runner-up
“Only 63 votes separated the top candidate from the 5th place finisher. Our elected Mayor received only 23.4% of total votes cast, leaving 76.6% of the constituents choosing other candidates. The electorate was clearly divided,” she writes in her letter to Minister Robinson.
The letter states that the suggestions for changes to the electoral system come from an advocate committee formed in the weeks after the election to draw attention to irregularities they say they experienced during the municipal election.