Qalipu election

Diane
Diane Crocker
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Electoral officer says no rules were broken

CORNER BROOK — People may not like the process or the outcome of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band election, but the man responsible for running the vote says the results stand.

Electoral officer Wayne Green said the general consensus among the appeals filed point to a dissatisfaction with the custom rules of the election.

He said dissatisfaction with a rule doesn’t make it appealable.

“The rule is there, you may not like it, but it’s still the rule. But they didn’t seem to make that distinction.”

Green said his responsibility was to enforce the rules as they are, not to change them because people think they should be different.

“You can’t demand perfection,” said Green of rules. “You can strive for it, and we all should, but you know perfection is a hard thing to get.”

A total of nine appeals of the Oct. 23 election were received, but only four were accepted and circulated to candidates as required by the Qalipu rules.

Of the other five appeals, Green said two were incomplete in that they didn’t include the required affidavit, and three were filed past the deadline. People had 30 days after the election to file an appeal.

Green noted the applicants who didn’t provide an affidavit were notified and given an opportunity to get the required document, but none were received.

Even though all nine applications were not eligible for review, Green said he looked at all of them to see if they contained the same complaints or issues.

From that review, he said the appeals filed focused on four areas:

1. Voter list issues — people placed in one ward who felt they should be in another

2. Tight time frames around the mail-in ballots

3. The number of polling stations — applicants felt there should have been more and complained of lineups

4.  General complaints about not being given enough notice of the election

Once satisfied that these four categories were generally the same for all the people who filed appeals, Green focused on the four eligible appeals. Those were circulated to candidates and some of them replied.

“They generally supported what those who were appealing the election said. Very few added anything new that wasn’t already covered in one of the nine appeals.”

Green then looked at each of the complaints to see whether any rules were broken, and determined that none had been.

Even after coming to that conclusion, Green said some changes may be needed.

He agreed the time frames around mail-in ballots are tight to get documentation in and reviewed, ballots sent out and mailed back.

And while the number of polling stations was based on population, Green said he would have had more in Corner Brook, where he knows there were lineups. He’d also check to see if the same problems existed in other areas to determine if more stations are needed.

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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