“Elections determine who is in power, but they do not determine how power is used.” ― Paul Collier

It’s been the worst luck – or the best depending on your perspective – that the lingering  night cough and laryngitis from the cold I had in the end of October, has kept me from actively blogging as much as I would like to about the election this year. Depending on what day you catch me, I might sound like anything from a squeaky mouse to an 80 year old smoker, or reduced to a complete whisper. It’s tiring, and my phone has been a God-send while resting, but is not conducive to writing full posts here on the blog.

However, the ongoing election antics in this years municipal election rival anything I’ve seen,anywhere, in past years. In a city that has an ongoing record of low voter turnout, it’s incredibly problematic because the last thing we need is to disengage already cynical and suspicious voters with stunts that detract from serious issues.

A tent was set up outside a polling station, and food and drinks were handed out,within the designated guidelines prohibited by Elections BC. In speaking with several voters who had gone to vote, it is clear that RCMP ultimately had to attend with officials to shut the tent down.

Several voters and opposing candidates have made unproven allegations that this tent was set up either by supporters of the Safe Surrey coalition or the coalition themselves – that team has as of the time of this post, remained silent on those allegations made. Several photos have been posted of RCMP attending the tent on social media sites by both opposing slate Surrey First and a candidate running with One Surrey.

The candidates guide issued by Elections BC makes it very clear on page 24, that vote-buying/influencing and campaigning near a voting place are offences and carry stiff penalties of both fines and or jail time. Ultimately I believe that regardless of what occurred, complete denials of knowledge of this tent and a distancing from any supporters who might have done this, is what we are going to hear. Or they simply might say nothing at all and ignore the entire issue.

Either way, it’s unethical and shows a complete lack of respect of the rules governing the election process when supporters of any candidates, brazenly flaunt them.

That wasn’t the only foul-up yesterday, as another candidate reported that the voting machines stopped working at one voting location yesterday:

votingmachinenotworking

So we’ve had the incorrectly printed ballots voting snafu, and now voting machine issues. This occurred in the last election as well on the evening of voting day and I’m concerned that it has come up again this election in an advance vote. Regardless if the votes collected are held in accordance of the law, questions as to why these voting machines seem to have ongoing issues need to be asked. Voters deserve to have the full assurance that all due process is being followed and that votes are being held securely at all times if the machines stop working.

Personally, if the machine stopped working and I was asked to put my ballot elsewhere, I would refuse and hold onto to it until officials determined what the issue was and how it was going to be handled.

Advance voter turnout has been strong this year, much like it was in the last election and residents are eagerly predicting that this means a record turnout overall in next weekends vote.

While I would love for this to be true, let me remind you of the 2011 election where advance voting shattered records…. and then we still ended up with a mere 70,253 votes being cast- a horrific turnout considering there were 279,051 registered voters. Lets not even discuss that our population is nearing or at the half million mark. Sadly, the civic BC info link with the 2011 voting turnout results has turned into an Error 404 link- if you have a copy, please send it along.  http://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/Library/Elections/BC_Voter_Turnout%20–%20Elections%20BC%20–2011.pdf

Long story short, every vote counts and engaging new voters matters.Consider the implication now that candidates elected will serve the public for 4 years, instead of three – that’s a long time.

Voter malaise is fed and nurtured by politicians,candidates and supporters who engage in dirty politics. Hearing promises that can’t be filled, seeing stunts like this and the behavior of some politicians during debates is more likely to turn voters off then turn them on.

And for some reason, I can’t help think that’s exactly what some politicians would prefer.

13 thoughts on ““Elections determine who is in power, but they do not determine how power is used.” ― Paul Collier

  1. We voted in the advance elections last time. I filled out my ballot and as usual for these types of important actions, double checked all was good. The man at the voting machine took it and ran it through.
    It was rejected.
    He ran it through again.

    Then… ‘as’ he was asking me if it was ‘allright to’ check for ‘the error’… he was and already had looked at my vote before he’d finished asking me for permission.
    He said ‘it looks fine’ but then he put my ballot in a box on the floor beside the machine ‘to be dealt with later’.

    My democratic right to a private vote was violated. And I have no idea if my vote was ever even counted in. Like you, we questioned the final tallies.

    I now have a deep distrust for how these elections are run.
    And e-voting is a recipe for election fraud and election rigging.

    Btw don’t trust or have any faith in none of the ‘top’ 3 and not one gets our vote. We found it disgraceful that the recent candidate event only allowed this ‘top 3’ to speak. That is the antithesis of democracy to ignore other candidates.

    Hepner’s campaign is being run the shadow man Kinsella who really runs our province telling Clark and co what they need to do.

    Rasode’s campaign is run by Clark’s exhusband/best pal, he who is a ‘player’ in the building of an LNG refinery.

    Mark Marissen, Christy’s ex, actually does play an important role in Christy’s life putting together the BC Liberal social media strategy which, amongst other things, did include paying some BC Liberal partisans in the Public Affairs Bureau (PAB), renamed to the GCPE (Government Communications and Public Engagement) to do partisan work on taxpayer dime.

    Does no one see a serious conflict of interest here with Mark Marissen, the guy who pays Christy’s child alimony, being a part of the group that wants to build this refinery?

    And people wonder why corporations and rampant development are the theme in Surrey vs good governance for all? Look at the disaster Clayton Heights is.

    And Doug McCallum who creates divisiveness and chaos still acts like he can write the rules.
    Thank you for your blog and best wishes for a return to good health asap.

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    1. Laila

      Following the candidate on twitter who reported this,it sounds like a multi-faceted issue of instruction giving and cards not being read by the machine, resulting in ballots being put into boxes. Mistakes happen and humans are not infallible, but the process should run more smoothly than it appears to be in this election. And again, I hope these issues are worked out prior to next Saturday when machines will be facing considerably more traffic than they did in advance voting.

      I agree, every one of the main candidates raises concerns and issues. Not just with backers but with policy and promises. The cupboards are bare and pulling money out of thin air isn’t possible to my knowledge…. 🙂

      Also, a lovely friend from facebook located an official ballot copy of the link that disappeared above showing municipal voter turnout from 2011. Horrific for most cities. https://web.archive.org/web/20141011160825/http://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/Library/Elections/BC_Voter_Turnout%20–%20Elections%20BC%20–2011.pdf

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  2. e.a.f.

    Low voter turn out is how countries get into trouble. Add in a little gerry mandering in some areas and not only is it, there goes the democracy, its there goes the neighbourhood We have only to look south of our border to see what lack of voting got some states, ie. Scott Walker in Wisc.

    People in Surrey like to complain about the level of crime and poverty, but refuse to go out and vote for any type of change The reasonable conclusion to come to is, the people of Surrey are comfortable with crime and poverty. It works for them. If it didn’t the would go out and vote.

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    1. Laila

      It’s been argued here that people haven’t voted because they have been happy with the current council and mayor over the past three terms. It could also be argued there was low turnout because there was no alternative well known enough to grab voters. It will be interesting to see what direction is taken in this election to determine the course of the city over the next four years.

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      1. Peter

        It’s close to a 3 way tie especially with a huge undecided count. I do not want this town of Newton to keep drifting into oblivion. We have had this mess for decades. Why is Newton ignored?

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  3. Peter

    My ballot was quarantined instead of counted because of the error on the ballot on the first Saturday. Will it be counted? I have no idea. I should call Anton Boegman @ EBC. The whole advanced vote should have been delayed ’till replacements were found. I cannot trust the outcome of the councilors. It should have been fixed before opening.

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  4. Jean

    Laila,
    I cannot send messages to your blog or contact mail. The messages do not show under my sent items or on your blog and contact mail.
    I can send successfully to anyone else and wonder if you know what the problem is as there seems everything is OK on my messages I send to anyone else.

    Here goes….testing again to see if this one sends.
    Jean

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  5. Jean

    Again it does not show in my sent items and did not send.
    Perhaps you could send me a message and I could reply and try to see if it will work that way or whatever you suggest to to about this.
    Very strange that these messages send OK but my message about ballot problems do not.

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  6. Jean

    A few years back I remember C l a r k campaigning outside a polling station and nothing was done about it.
    Again a few years back I advance voted and my ballot had no party or independent beside any of the candidates names. I complained to the persons in charge and told them I thought it outrageous and asked her why not. They would not give me an answer. I left and never saw what she did with my ballot.
    A few days ago Gail Rice, Grant’s wife emailed me saying that Surrey First was campaigning at an advan e poll and she called the RCMP and got no response. Grant, who I am campaigning for asked if any more of us see this happening to take a picture and let him know.
    Advance voting needs to be stopped, it’s the easiest way to tamper with ballots.

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  7. Curt

    It’s hard enough to figure out who to vote for in Surrey (but I will exercise my right and vote), but Vancouver, although Gregor is not my favourite politician, I definitely would not be voting NPA and LaPointe. Follow the money.

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  8. Curt

    Don’t forget what the Owelympics did to the the debt of Vancouver. Gregor happened to be mayor during this, but it started long before he was elected. (The whole province has and is paying dearly for that “event”. Gordo and friends.
    http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/peter-armstrong-fraser-institute-board-members-among-npas-big-ticket-donors
    http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2014/07/16/VIEW-Are-conservative-think-tanks-aiming-at-Vancouver/

    My opinion.

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