By Roy L Hales
Rumours of an investigation have been circulating for some time. Now the results of the RCMP investigation into alleged voter fraud in Cortes Island’s October 20, 2018 election have been made public.
The police received complaints that 43 voters did not qualify as residents of Cortes Island, but found no evidence to substantiate these claims. No further details about the allegations in either the CMP or SRD reports, though the following sentence does occur in the latter:
“Given the current definition of ‘residence’ used in local government elections (‘the area where a person lives and to which, whenever absent, the person intends to return’) it is extremely challenging to prove election fraud on the basis of residential status unless it can be shown that the person has voted as a resident in more than one voting jurisdiction. “
According To The Marketer
A new detail is mentioned in the March 15 Cortes Marketer, where the allegedly fraudulent voters appear to have been accused of having their “usual place of residence” in another jurisdiction. (The anonymous author of the item below did not explain how they came to know this detail.)
Some People Can Vote In Two Jurisdictions
However there are circumstances in which people can vote in two jurisdictions. Bernice’s comment (below) led me to the following statement in the VOTER’S GUIDE TO LOCAL ELECTIONS IN B.C . (2018).
“30 Days Immediately Before You Register”
However the golden rule for most of us is that we need to Canadian citizens, who have been in British Columbia for at least six months, and on Cortes at least 30 days, before we register to vote.”
“You are eligible to vote as a non-resident property elector when you:
• are 18 years of age or older when you register to vote or will be 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
• are a Canadian citizen;
• have been a resident of British Columbia for at least six months immediately before you register to vote;
• are the registered owner of property in the jurisdiction where you intend to vote for at least 30 days immediately before you register to vote; and,
• are not disqualified under the Local Government Act, any other enactment, or by law from voting in local elections.”
Breakdown of the 43 Accused
Corporal Sean Bulford of the Quadra Island Detachment, RCMP, based his breakdown of the suspect voters on data from the SRD. Twenty-five were found to have previously registered with elections BC, 3 provided satisfactory evidence of residency to election officials, another 6 registrations were lost..
All Voters Met The Requirements
The RCMP focused their attention on nine individuals who had made statutory declarations on voting day, but did not have documentation to support their claim to residency on Cortes Island.
Corporal Bulford concludes:
“My members then proceeded to systematically work through the list, speaking to these individuals, or witnesses that could verify the status of their residency on Cortes Island. Had we located an individual who could not prove they met the requirements laid out in the Local Government Act, we would have applied for a search warrant to seize the voting records prior to the destruction.”
“We concluded through our investigation, that these individuals did in fact meet the basic requirements of the Local Government Act regarding their status as resident voters. After consultations with the Director of Investigations for Elections BC, it was determined that they could find no information within their records that would contradict the results of our investigation.”
Top photo credit: from Smelt Bay, Cortes Island by Djun Kim via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)
Originally published March 11, 2019 & more detail added later.