Elections B.C. is ready for any attempts to send fraudulent ballots in for the referendum on voting systems, and people who see ballots abandoned or collected can help, Attorney General David Eby says.
The simplest thing to do with abandoned ballots found in apartment lobbies or recycling bins is to mark them “return to sender” and put them back in the mail, Eby said Thursday. Any concerns people have about ballot packages being collected or misused should be reported to Elections B.C., providing the names of intended recipients if possible to match with the agency’s records.
Eby was responding to social media comments about abandoned ballots, including one from former MLA Judi Tyabji, who told a Facebook group she was starting a “ballot collection” effort in Powell River to “video tape how easy it is to defraud the process.” Tyabji urged others to contact her so they could “collaborate” on the effort.
“What we really discourage is people on social media, like a former B.C. Liberal MLA, suggesting those ballots should be collected to demonstrate that the system could be defrauded,” Eby said. “A better approach is to call Elections B.C. if people have concerns about unclaimed ballots.
“Certainly in any election process, you need to be alive to the possibility of fraud,” Eby said. “And that’s why we have great confidence in the measures that are in place, including calling people to make sure that they’ve received their ballots, checking information on submitted ballots against information that Elections B.C. has, and doing audits to make sure that submitted ballots actually come from the people that they say they’re being submitted by.”
The B.C. North and Interior, and Vancouver Island north of the Malahat are destinations for the first mail-out, along with the city of Vancouver. Voters in those regions should receive their ballot packages by Oct. 26.
The rest of the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria ballots are going out next week, with arrival expected by Nov. 2, said Anton Boegman, Chief Electoral Officer in charge of elections and referendum votes for B.C.
People who haven’t received them by the expected time have until Nov. 23 to contact Elections B.C. to have one sent to them.
Elections B.C. has an online list of communities with expected delivery dates for packages at its website, elections.bc.ca, and links to get on the provincial voters’ list and request a ballot package.
Reports can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in toll-free to 1-800-661-8683 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.