Aug 15, 2011 Press Release
FIGHT HST ASKS WHY ONE VOTER ALLOWED TO SUBMIT LATE BALLOT BY ELECTIONS BC WHILE THOUSANDS OF OTHER VOTERS DENIED DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO VOTE
Elections BC gives Cranbrook voter a ballot after complaint to BC Liberal MLA
VANCOUVER – Fight HST is demanding that Elections BC extend voting rights to thousands of BC voters who were denied a ballot in the HST referendum after learning that a Cranbrook voter was given approval to submit her ballot several days after the official August 5 deadline.
Annette Lagasse was given a “late submission” ballot exemption after Elections BC repeatedly failed to deliver a ballot to her, despite Lagasse calling the agency on four separate occasions before that deadline to complain about not receiving it as promised.
Lagasse also complained about the missing ballot on August 8 by email to her Member of the Legislative Assembly, BC Liberal Bill Bennett, East Kootenay.
On August 9, Lagasse was contacted by email by Tim Strocel, Elections BC Operations Manager. Strocel’s email states that: “I am conducting an investigation into mail delivery failures during the HST Referendum. …..I would like to discuss the circumstances of your voting package with the intention of recommending a late submission.”
Lagasse says Strocel later told her to send her HST referendum ballot directly to him at Elections BC but not to put it in the regular envelope sent to voters or it wouldn’t be counted.
“I shouldn’t have to fight for my right to vote,” Lagasse said Monday. “It’s appalling. They should have extended the deadline as many times as needed for democracy to work.”
“It’s only when your rights are taken away that you realize how important they are,” she says.
Fight HST leader and former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm said Lagasse’s case is an exception instead of the rule, with literally thousands of voters having been denied their right to vote.
“Did Annette Lagasse only get her vote after complaining to her BC Liberal MLA? We don’t know but it certainly suggests that any BC voter who asked Elections BC for a ballot but didn’t get one in time to vote should now call their MLA and ask for his or her help,” Vander Zalm said.
“Annette Lagasse had to go to extreme lengths to not only get her ballot but make sure her ballot got counted – how many other British Columbians didn’t have her determination and lost their right to vote because Elections BC made it so difficult to get a ballot in time?” Vander Zalm asked.
Vander Zalm is calling on Elections BC to extend the same democratic right to other voters that it has rightly given Lagasse.
“Any BC voter who didn’t get their mail-in ballot and requested one from Elections BC before the deadline should now be given the right to vote and to have that vote counted,” Vander Zalm said. “There is still more than enough time before the planned end of the vote count on August 25 to make sure democracy is delivered.”
Fight HST is again calling for an independent inquiry into how the mail-in ballot binding referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax has been conducted, saying the Lagasse example makes it more important than ever.
“This HST referendum has been full of unnecessary challenges for voters, who should have found it very easy to cast their ballots,” Fight HST strategist Bill Tieleman said. “That’s why we need an independent inquiry to ensure that the next BC referendum runs far more smoothly and ensures everyone’s democratic rights are respected.”
Tieleman said the grassroots group is still getting dozens of complaints through its website from voters who contacted Elections BC before the July 22 deadline to request a ballot but never received one and encouraged anyone who hasn’t contacted Fight HST to still do so.Share on Facebook
Tags: august 8, bc premier, bill bennett, bill vander zalm, circumstances, democracy, east kootenay, elections bc, email, HST, intention, mail delivery, member of the legislative assembly, mla, occasions, operations manager, referendum ballot, submission, vancouver, voting rights
Jul 30, 2011 Press Release
FIGHT HST ASKS VOTERS WHO DO NOT HAVE HST BALLOTS BUT REQUESTED THEM FROM ELECTIONS BC TO CONTACT FIGHT HST IMMEDIATELY THROUGH WEBSITE
Bill Vander Zalm demands Elections BC act as missing ballot complaints rise
VANCOUVER – Fight HST is asking any voter who requested an HST referendum ballot from Elections BC but has not yet received one to immediately contact Fight HST through the email form below.
Fight HST leader and former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm says the organization has already received hundreds of emails and phone calls from worried voters who didn’t get an HST referendum ballot in the mail, called Elections BC’s telephone hotline to get one and still have no vote – with the August 5 deadline looming.
“No registered voter who contacted Elections BC before the July 22 deadline and who has not yet received their ballot should be denied a vote – that would be an affront to democracy,” Vander Zalm said. “Elections BC has the power to remedy this situation, which threatens to disenfranchise thousands of voters through no fault of their own. Elections BC must act now to solve this problem.”
Vander Zalm is asking voters who have not received ballots to allow Fight HST to tell their story to the media to ensure that Elections BC understands the magnitude of the problem and the frustration. Some voters have already done so – here are a few examples:
“Have been traveling across Canada this summer for 2 months. Called Elections BC to get a ballot for both my husband and I, sent to P.E.I. Canada with 9 days to arrive before we got there. It is now 3.5 weeks later and not there yet. Called elections BC again on July 14 to then have ballots sent to Newfoundland as we were moving on. Two weeks now and it is still now there and unfortunately we are now heading out west towards home again and will be unable for either of us to vote. Any questions or suggestions please contact us via email or call our cell.
Thank you Carla and Joe Rauer-Reis, South Delta.”
“I am missing a total of 3 ballots for my household. I also had called in for my dad who also is still waiting for his ballot. I had did a quick survey with my friends and family and several of them have not received them. I also have informed chek 6 news.
Thanks Sarb Gill, Surrey.”
“I have contacted Elections BC 4 times and they sent my ballot package to my old address not once but twice even though it was correct for the last election and my husband received his package.
They have told me I cannot pick a package up in person and that I should contact Canada Post. I want Elections BC investigated….
Alanna Hulko, Sidney, BC”
Fight HST strategist Bill Tieleman said Elections BC has several possible remedies within its power, including to extend the deadline for ballots received, to accept statutory declarations from voters who swear they are eligible to vote, contacted Elections BC to receive a ballot but did not get one, and to issue ballots to those voters who for whatever reason were not sent one despite requesting it.
“Every voter has a democratic right to vote in this HST referendum. Whether they didn’t get a vote because of human error or computer error, whether it happened at Canada Post or Elections BC – it doesn’t matter now,” Tieleman said. “The solutions are easily at hand and the credibility of both mail in ballots and this important HST referendum are at stake – Elections BC has to get this fixed before the deadline and get these voters their ballots as promised.”
To contact Fight HST about a missing ballot, complete the submission form below and the email will be sent directly to Fight HST. Please indicate if Fight HST can use your name with media or if you prefer your name to remain confidential.Share on Facebook