Voters receive wrong ballots

Everton McLean
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St. John's residents get mail-in voting kits for wrong wards

People in at least two St. John's wards have received the wrong mail-in ballot kit for the municipal election, and a spokeswoman for the city's electoral office says if those people voted for a ward they don't live in, there's no way to trace it.

The issue came to light when Ward 2 candidate and current councillor Frank Galgay got a call from a person in the ward.

Frank Galgay

People in at least two St. John's wards have received the wrong mail-in ballot kit for the municipal election, and a spokeswoman for the city's electoral office says if those people voted for a ward they don't live in, there's no way to trace it.

The issue came to light when Ward 2 candidate and current councillor Frank Galgay got a call from a person in the ward.

"He said he opened his ballot, the mail-in ballot that arrived. He said the ballot listed Ward 4, Sheilagh Guy-Murphy and Debbie Hanlon," he said.

He advised the man that he couldn't have anything to do with the election process as a candidate, but that the voter should contact the electoral office.

He thought it was an isolated incident until Monday evening, when he went campaigning door to door on Mayor Avenue.

"The houses that I went to on Mayor Avenue, as far as I know all of them received a ballot for Ward 4," he said. "It was the whole street."

He said the mistake could have serious consequences in a close election.

"As a candidate, I just would hope it's just an isolated incident and just a minor glitch," he said. "My only concern, too, is that now, some people have sent their ballots in."

As a result, a few votes from Ward 2 could affect the Ward 4 race.

Meanwhile, Ward 4 candidate and current councillor Debbie Hanlon said she also got a call from a ward resident who got an incorrect ballot kit, this time for Ward 1.

"I guess it's unfortunate, but it's some kind off a mechanical error and hopefully it will be corrected," she said.

"That is a major concern, and I know a lot of people already have sent in their ballot."

Attempts to reach Guy-Murphy were not successful.

Linda Bishop, the deputy electoral officer for the city, said anyone who received an incorrect kit can call 311 and ask for a new one.

However, if someone votes for the wrong ward "unfortunately it's gone into the system."

She said that because any identifying information is separated from the actual ballot before it goes in, once a ballot is mailed it can't be recalled.

But, she said, most people would notice the error before mailing in their vote.

"I would think most people would notice that was there," she said.

Bishop, who said she had received only one call regarding an incorrect kit, said she didn't know how the error happened, but it could be a glitch in the system, with a wrongly recorded postal code.

She said the ballots are delivered by Canada Post, but the kits are made up by an outside agency contracted to use the voter list.

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Canada Post

Geographic location: St. John's

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Comments

Recent comments

  • Pam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    To Tim, I think a lot of the apathy in Ward 2, and in the city generally has to do with people's dissatisfaction with current Council. It's time for some new faces.

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Jay - What does voting through the mail have to do with a self-elected government? Get educated

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Here is a link to a guy who openly admits he abuses our City's election system.

    http://towniebastard.blogspot.com/2009/08/vote-lono.html

    Public admissions such as this are evidence our City's election mail in ballot system is flawed and more open to abuse than voters being required to go to a polling station.

    Punish the cheaters or change the system.

  • Art
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I agree with Pam. Council is old, it has old ways. Specifically one that is try to run again. His picture on his campaign sign must be from when he ran in the 80's, lol. He is misleading Voters. It's time for some new faces and fresh ideas.

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Given the voter apathy I hear here in Ward 2 does it matter where our votes go

  • B.W.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    James from nl I think she is referring to the ease of possible abuse. It makes sense, I understand her point. How about you get 'unstupid'.

  • Bobber
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    The irony in all this is that Hanlon's address listed on the ballot for Ward 4 is actually in Ward 2. So maybe it went to the right ward lol.

  • jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Looks like our increased property taxes will be able to fund this fool up.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Who is the outside agency referenced in the article who is supposed to have put together the kits? Were the postal codes put on incorrectly by that company, or did Canada Post err in delivery? Is the City going to investigate this and release the results so that the public knows how widespread these errors were? Come on Telegram, how about a follow up article?

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Mail in ballots are a joke to democracy. Although, it's just like the candidates, they mail in their effort for 4 years.

    No wonder City Hall wants to increase taxes with staff that can't input a postal code to such a critical piece of democracy.

  • Mo
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Mail in ballots open up opportunities for all kinds of election cheating.

    I have heard from several people who laughing say they voted multiple times because they got their hands on multiple ballots from friends, family or others who did not intend to vote and used those ballots themselves.

    The legal disclaimer on the ballot is a joke and is not a deterrent to those who wish to abuse the system.

    I am not using my ballot this year as I do not feel there is a single candidate worth voting for and will destroy my ballot so a fraudster cannot use it.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Voting should never take place via mail-in ballot. Voters should show up @ polling stations in person. Mail-in ballots too easily open the system to fraud.

  • Cee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Nothing says Third World Country like no water.

  • Sally
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Let's see... when the public stops voting altogether, only the candidates will vote. And rest assured they'll find ways to vote for themselves as many times as possible any which way they can.

    Yup, that's a Banana Republic.

  • Wait....
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Looks like a do over before it begins now, or court action for the next 10 years.

    No wonder things never are done in this city.

    So new election date will be when? They can not have the same date if not all the voters are given the same information and chance to cast votes.

  • Jay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Nothing says Banana Republic like voting through the mail.

  • Pam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    To Tim, I think a lot of the apathy in Ward 2, and in the city generally has to do with people's dissatisfaction with current Council. It's time for some new faces.

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Jay - What does voting through the mail have to do with a self-elected government? Get educated

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Here is a link to a guy who openly admits he abuses our City's election system.

    http://towniebastard.blogspot.com/2009/08/vote-lono.html

    Public admissions such as this are evidence our City's election mail in ballot system is flawed and more open to abuse than voters being required to go to a polling station.

    Punish the cheaters or change the system.

  • Art
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I agree with Pam. Council is old, it has old ways. Specifically one that is try to run again. His picture on his campaign sign must be from when he ran in the 80's, lol. He is misleading Voters. It's time for some new faces and fresh ideas.

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Given the voter apathy I hear here in Ward 2 does it matter where our votes go

  • B.W.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    James from nl I think she is referring to the ease of possible abuse. It makes sense, I understand her point. How about you get 'unstupid'.

  • Bobber
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    The irony in all this is that Hanlon's address listed on the ballot for Ward 4 is actually in Ward 2. So maybe it went to the right ward lol.

  • jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Looks like our increased property taxes will be able to fund this fool up.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Who is the outside agency referenced in the article who is supposed to have put together the kits? Were the postal codes put on incorrectly by that company, or did Canada Post err in delivery? Is the City going to investigate this and release the results so that the public knows how widespread these errors were? Come on Telegram, how about a follow up article?

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Mail in ballots are a joke to democracy. Although, it's just like the candidates, they mail in their effort for 4 years.

    No wonder City Hall wants to increase taxes with staff that can't input a postal code to such a critical piece of democracy.

  • Mo
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Mail in ballots open up opportunities for all kinds of election cheating.

    I have heard from several people who laughing say they voted multiple times because they got their hands on multiple ballots from friends, family or others who did not intend to vote and used those ballots themselves.

    The legal disclaimer on the ballot is a joke and is not a deterrent to those who wish to abuse the system.

    I am not using my ballot this year as I do not feel there is a single candidate worth voting for and will destroy my ballot so a fraudster cannot use it.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Voting should never take place via mail-in ballot. Voters should show up @ polling stations in person. Mail-in ballots too easily open the system to fraud.

  • Cee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Nothing says Third World Country like no water.

  • Sally
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Let's see... when the public stops voting altogether, only the candidates will vote. And rest assured they'll find ways to vote for themselves as many times as possible any which way they can.

    Yup, that's a Banana Republic.

  • Wait....
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Looks like a do over before it begins now, or court action for the next 10 years.

    No wonder things never are done in this city.

    So new election date will be when? They can not have the same date if not all the voters are given the same information and chance to cast votes.

  • Jay
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Nothing says Banana Republic like voting through the mail.