———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Gerda Peachey <gerdapeachey@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM
Subject: Elections: Vouching
To: bill good <bgood@cknw.com>

Hello Bill: This morning you had a brief ‘any topic’ segment on CKNW. A senior, who’d worked as a scrutineer in the last federal election called in to tell you that she, and many others, witnessed a lot of abuse of the ‘voucher’ option granted to voters.

I completely agree with your caller.

I have worked in just about every federal, provincial and municipal election over the past three decades. I’ve also run for council a number of times, and placed my own scrutineers at polling stations.

Years ago I worked as an enumerator, in what was then said to be the last such enumeration, because henceforth all the necessary data was to be garnered from income tax forms, licence information, welfare requests and so on. I understand that, in fact, there have been subsequent enumerations conducted.

Anyway that year, long ago, I went from home to home, filling in forms for eligible voters, it was a shock to realize how easily anyone could have their name added to the voter’s list. We were instructed to simply accept as factual truth any data told to us at the door, as to who in the home should be added to our list of legal voters. We were NOT to question the person at the door as to whether all those people were all of legal age or Canadian citizens, or 6 month residents of the riding.

So out comes the voter’s list. Cards are sent to homes. People are invited and reminded, over and over, by way of newspaper and radio for months in advance to come out and vote.

Every opportunity is provided,– to absolutely every 18 year old, and up, Canadian citizen to use this wonderful gift of determining who shall govern the land. Mobile units go to senior’s homes, and hospitals, and remote places, and first nations villages.

Now Advance polls open for 3 days almost a week before election day to allow greater public engagement. People can send ‘write-in’ ballots from vacation spots. Military personnel all over the world are counted in.

Yet despite all this expenditure of vast amounts of public money, time and effort, inevitably on election day, MANY people come in for ‘late registration’.

What is really problematic, and in my view extremely suspicious, is the business of one person being allowed to ‘vouch’ for one, – or many of their family members. They don’t need to speak English, and if they can’t write, then an X is sufficient. Why on earth is no ID required for voting, when these same folk have, and can produce paperwork in all other circumstances. This is not about silly concepts like ‘respect’ and ‘trust’. Why invoke such language when simple documentation will suffice to authenticate a voter’s identity.

Election officers, under this bizarre system, are not permitted to question the voter as to whether these people, he/she vouches for, are of age, whether they are citizens, whether they even live in the riding………….nothing, no question. This voucher can easily add ten people to the voter list in the last hour, if he wants to.

That is nuts!!

We have so diminished the requirements for the right to vote in Canada, as to make it possible for anyone at all to vote, whether or not they actually meet the qualifications of citizen, age and residency. Obviously for people who have no problem with being cheats, this wide-open door allows them to radically tilt the final outcome. If any candidate or party has enough cheats willing to bend the rules, that person or party can win the desired government seat,……and that is a serious attack on democracy.

In 2005 I challenged the Abbotsford municipal results because mayor Peary had decreed people could vote at any of the 26 or so voting places, (as I recall – it was called ‘voting at large’ versus the grid system now back in place).

There were numerous reports about men driving groups of Indo-Canadians in vans and buses to multiple voting places. The election officer was told about it at the time, but he did not ask police to lay charges of election tampering. Even when I and 7 other residents did a cross-check on a minuscule portion of the election material, and found one fellow who clearly voted at an advance pol and on election day, the chief election officer, (Bill Flitton) declined to show those documents to police.

Despite my request to just about any authority out there, to conduct a full-out examination of our election material, the records were destroyed.

In subsequent elections, I have utilized the public right to examine the election material in Abbotsford. Having worked so many elections myself I am fairly conversant in how those forms should be filled in. It is shocking to see how many people are given a ballot, as late registrants, based on forms that do not have even that minimal number of spaces filled in. I point those out to the election officer. I’ve asked members of council to have a look for themselves. No interest.

So the naive concept that you can fling the doors of voting wide-open, assuming a wondrous belief in the virtuous honesty of all people in our country is, well………much worse than naive. I believe the rewards of attaining high office, and having ‘your’ man or woman in that place of great influence can turn elections into times of mass cheating.

On this question of ‘vouching’, the Harper Conservatives are right to close this barn door.

Gerda Peachey