Screenshot from RCMP Report

Originally Published on Cortes Currents

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.

RCMP Investigation

Screenshot from Strathcona Regional District Report

The police received complaints that 43 voters did not qualify as residents of Cortes Island, but found no evidence to substantiate these claims. 

Resident In More Than One Jurisdiction

Screenshot of Cortes Marketer, March 15, 2019 page 3,

A new detail is mentioned in the March 15 Cortes Marketer, where the alleged fraudulent voters appear to have been accused of having their “usual place of residence” in another jurisdiction.

The precise nature of the allegations are not mentioned in either the RCMP 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. “

“30 Days Immediately Before You Register”

However in the VOTER’S GUIDE TO LOCAL ELECTIONS IN B.C . (2018), cited by the Marketer, it says:

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.”

Resident voters are also required to be Canadian citizens who have lived in British Columbia and live “in the jurisdiction where you intend to vote for at least 30 days immediately before you register to vote.

Breakdown of the 43 Accused

According to the subsequent report filed by Corporal Sean Bulford of the Quadra Island Detachment, 25 of the suspect voters were found to have previously registered with elections BC. Three more were able to provide satisfactory evidence of residency to election officials. 

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. 

Screenshot of breakdown in SRD Report

All Voters Met The Requirements

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)