Photos from the Guelph "Poll" Scandal

Much has been written about the recent events at the University of Guelph, where a Conservative Party operative allegedly ran into an Elections Canada polling station set up on the University Campus where he screamed that it was illegal, then proceeded to physically interfere with the balloting process so that the box could not be accessed.

Fortunately, none of that happened.

In actual fact, the Returning Office for the federal electoral district of Guelph — reportedly a Liberal Party supporter — had a “special voting” station set up on the University campus (photo attached) for students to vote with a convenience not enjoyed by the rest of Canadians. Not only was this voting running beyond the advertised times, but this poll was also set up without authorization from Elections Canada, the agency supervising Canadian elections.

In addition to the fact that this was a rogue poll to begin with, members of Liberal Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote’s campaign were on site — in the area being used as the balloting station/line-up — handing out literature about their candidate. As anyone familiar with Canadian election law knows, partisan material is a strict no-no in polling areas.

While the Conservative Party wrote a formal request to Elections Canada that the votes cast be disallowed, Elections Canada denied that request. Although, they also stated that what happened shouldn’t have, and ensured that no other schools will hold similar rogue polls on campus for the remainder of the election.

Below are photos submitted to Landmark Report showing members of the Liberal campaign illegally handing out literature on property apparently annexed by Elections Canada.

UPDATE: New photos added from the Guelph Mercury. The person in the suit is Conservative Communications Director for Marty Burke, Michael Sona.

 

 


Andrew Lawton is Landmark Report's founder and publisher and a North American radio and television personality. In addition to hosting The Andrew Lawton Show on AM980 in London, Ontario, he is also a contributor on Canada's Sun News Network. Andrew, the King of Canadian Social Media, tweets as @AndrewLawton.

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34 Responses to “Photos from the Guelph "Poll" Scandal”

  1. How…why…WTF. How can I ever be sanctimonious about my confederated democracy if crap like this is allowed to go on without rebuke or sanction? My country, my Canada is going banana republic. Thanks elections Canada for not doing your frickin' job! You (elections Canada) insult all those present and past who have shed blood for our confederated democracy; you mock the process and the rules which in the end define what we were – yes, what we were because this changes everything.

  2. UofG Student says:

    Fuzzy photos that show one person reading a Liberal brochure outside! Wow! Conspiracy revealed! Perhaps you should read the Elections Act, and also maybe learn a bit about journalism. And…. maybe you should have been there. No one ever said that Tory op "lifted a ballot box above his head and threw it to the ground". Please, your sensationalism is really a little too Tea Party for reality.

    • Maybe “you” should read the act. If indeed it was an “advanced polling station” then it was illegal. In fact, it was a “Special Voting Ballot”, such a thing doesn’t exist under the “Special Voting Rules” of the Canada Elections Act, para 154, sub-para (1) “The deputy returning officer, on request by an elector who is unable to vote in the manner prescribed by this Act because he or she cannot read or has a physical disability…” Read it here: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-2.01/pa… Indeed, the entire section doesn’t allow for what took place at GU. In fact, Division 4, Electors Residing In Canada, Conditions for voting by special ballot, paras 231 to 243, don’t allow for a “Special Voting” station as was set up at GU. Furthermore, the Chief Electoral Officer didn’t authorize this bastardized polling method which contravenes para 16, sub-para (b) “ensure that all election officers act with fairness and impartiality and in compliance with this Act” if indeed there were LPC members handing out pamphlets at the illegal voting station. Sub-paras (a), (c) and (d) apply as well. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-2.01/pa

      • UofGgrad says:

        Special Voting Stations do exist – the problem with the one at UofG was that it was not authorized prior to the election being called. You were quoting the wrong sections of the act – Section 11part 4 http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&… would be on voting in this manner.
        They are routinely used where there is traditionally low voter turnout or difficulty attending a poll. (Nursing homes etc)

    • Maybe “you” should read the act. If indeed it was an “advanced polling station” then it was illegal. In fact, it was a “Special Voting Ballot”, such a thing doesn’t exist under the “Special Voting Rules” of the Canada Elections Act, para 154, sub-para (1) “The deputy returning officer, on request by an elector who is unable to vote in the manner prescribed by this Act because he or she cannot read or has a physical disability…” Read it here: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-2.01/pa

    • Indeed, the entire section doesn’t allow for what took place at GU. In fact, Division 4, Electors Residing In Canada, Conditions for voting by special ballot, paras 231 to 243, don’t allow for a “Special Voting” station as was set up at GU. Furthermore, the Chief Electoral Officer didn’t authorize this bastardized polling method which contravenes para 16, sub-para (b) “ensure that all election officers act with fairness and impartiality and in compliance with this Act” if indeed there were LPC members handing out pamphlets at the illegal voting station. Sub-paras (a), (c) and (d) apply as well. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-2.01/pa

  3. UoG_DV says:

    In the third photo, the one man is clearly holding a stack of pamphlets for Frank Valeriote at the entrance to the University Centre. Since the polling location was directly inside the door, that makes this location only about 20 feet away. That's illegal. Let's see if Liberals like Frank Valeriote and Michael Ignatieff will criticize these on-camera violations by Liberal campaign members as quickly as they pounced on the allegations against the Conservatives.

  4. Gryphon says:

    The guy on the right in the 4th photo is Ramzi Nashef. He's from Ottawa and was the Liberal scrutineer at the poll, and also was handing out Liberal lit.

  5. Steve says:

    Unadvertised? Yet the Liberals managed to be there to hand out campaign literature. Something's not right. I guess this is what one would call a Liberal secret ballot, since only Liberals knew about it.

  6. Genghis Con says:

    Where are the pics of Michael Sona grabbing the ballot box?

  7. UGer says:

    I also saw a conservative filming the whole thing. Last time I checked no cameras where allowed inside a poll. Supposed to be a secret ballot, may not if Harper is elected

  8. Fred Oliver says:

    Remind me not to hire any Guelph grads!

  9. UoG grad says:

    The number of errors in you rant above is astounding. No one has alleged that Sona threw the box to the ground.
    The Special Voting is what occurred (no quotes are necessary). Elections Canada told the people handing out literature to leave when they found out about it.
    This was the third time Uof G has held this station. It was advertised (where did you hear it wasn't) – there was 2 days of voter registration occurring before this event plus other advertising. The President pledged to have his face painted if enough students pledge to vote (and he did).

    My question is Why do the Conservatives not want students to vote? Why make it difficult for them? I think more Universities should hold these events in the future.

    • It doesn’t matter how many times this illegal voting occurred before, it still doesn’t make it legal or right. It isn’t about any political side not wanting anybody to vote, it’s about circumventing the Elections Act and misappropriating Special Voting in a manner that wasn’t intended to get people to vote. In every Special Voting ballot station I have attended, being in the CF, a screened voting section was provided, the room for the special voting was controlled and not in an open public area, and there were no party reps within the area to cater my vote.

      If you want Universities to hold more of these in the future, get the Elections act changed so the law doesn’t get broken, or let students vote like the rest of the population. Students are not entitled to special voting privileges.

    • otterdriver says:

      Students don't need special treatment, sheesh.  Forgive me if I have no sympathy for someone whining because he can't see why a ballots shouldn't be brought to him to vote.  You have time to march around in your vote mobs proclaiming "Guess what, we're voting" – to which the rest of Canada thinks "Funny, I don't recall asking." –  but you don't have time to actually vote like the rest of us?  Get a clue.  Also, the Conservatives aren't against you voting, they are against you voting illegally.  Can you make the differentiation yourself, or should I get a crayon and underline it for you?

  10. Canasian says:

    @ U of G student. Okay what the heck does "The Special Voting is what occurred". I know you're obviously not a Conservative supporter but that is not the issue here.@ U of G student. Okay what the heck does "The Special Voting is what occurred". I know you're obviously not a Conservative supporter but that is not the issue here, we're talking about rules and regulations that voters must adhere to and that Elections Canada must enforce.

    Special Ballots are to be mailed in or done at the Office of the Returning Officer. Special Ballots are legal but there is no such thing as a special ballot box or special ballot polling station under the Elections Canada Act. Hence why they had to declare this polling station as being unauthorized.

    There was nothing preventing these students to vote legally by Special Ballot at the Officer of the Returning Officer or by mailing in a Special Ballot.

    Elections Canada can't have it both ways, it's either an advance polling station which means dozens of rules were broken, or it's not an advance polling station and Special Ballots were not submitted correctly according to the Act.

    Elections Canada knows they're in the wrong since they've banned such practices and voting station for the rest of Canada. If you can't see the hypocrisy in this decision by Elections Canada you might want to hone your critical thinking skills more before commenting.

    • Here, here! Obviously, what ever "critical thinking" the U of G student/Grad acquired, it didn't include the ability to read and understand government regulations, but more likely fostered an ideological sense of entitlement and a lackadaisical interpretation of rules to fit into their reality of who things should be.

  11. otterdriver says:

    I wonder what is in the Guelph water supply.  The comments section in over at the Guelph Mercury is full of commentors like UofGgrad.  They are convinced that Elections Canada should be put on a pedestal for their actions.  They go on and on about how the Conservatives are undemocratic and fail to see the harm in illegal ballots.  That's a special kind of stupid where I'm from.

  12. E_Kafka says:

    If this is an illegal poll – what stops the students from voting numerous times?  Once, twice, three times here, and then if they are from another town – voting there that day.  The reason we have laws is to keep it fair and democratic.  Anyone who supports having this voting station this early and actually counting these ballots as part of the election better admit all elections are a joke.  Democracy doesn't mean whatever party you support gets to cheat – if this was a Conservative area, with conservatives handing out literature it would be just as disturbing.  Nothing like making easy for able bodied, "smart", and apparently motivated students to violate the very principles of fairness.

    • UofGgrad says:

      "Anyone who supports having this voting station this early"
      I know some one who voted on March 31, he is traveling. The same thing that stops him from voting multiple times stops the students from voting multiple times. I have voted early before as well.

      The only reason this poll was not valid was that it didn't have permission to exist before the election was called. That is the part of the act that was not followed.

      • So you admit, special voting has nothing to do with this statement of yours: "They are routinely used where there is traditionally low voter turnout or difficulty attending a poll. (Nursing homes etc) "

        • UofGgrad says:

          Nope – when I did it I drove to a city to the local Elections Canada office and voted. My friend (different place) probably took the bus or biked.

          As to my statement see the Elections Canada press release here http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=med&…
          specifically
          "Because the rules governing the use of the special ballot are different from those for standard voting methods, Elections Canada generally uses the special ballot outside the local Elections Canada office in defined circumstances to assist electors who face barriers to voting, such as electors in acute care hospitals or in isolated work camps in locations like Fort McMurray in northern Alberta"

          So yes, the RO for Guelph over stepped their power. However, ballot casting was done that respects Canada Elections Act.

  13. [...] fake balloting station at Guelph University, and a Conservative official then allegedly attempted to steal the same ballot box.In Toronto a Liberal operative was caught red-handed stealing signs from the [...]

  14. UofGgrad says:

    Where does it say "Special Voting is only to be used, not when voter turnout is low, but when folks can’t cast their vote due to circumstance or health."
    Elections Canada says Special Voting Rules:
    1. Canadian electors temporarily away from their electoral districts during the election or referendum, whether in Canada or abroad

    2. Canadian electors in their electoral districts who cannot or do not wish to go to an ordinary or advance poll to vote

    3. Canadian citizens temporarily residing outside Canada

    4. Canadian Forces electors (including civilians employed as teachers or administrative support staff in Canadian Forces schools outside the country)

    5. incarcerated electors

    Number 2 clearly applies. I think it is you that needs to read the act.

    • So you can read.

      Since you’ve failed to provide any links for your assumptions, I can only “assume” you’re talking about Division 4, Electors Residing in Canada. Start by reading it here: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-2.01/pa

      Para 232 states specifically, “An elector may vote under this Division if his or her application for registration and special ballot is received after the issue of the writs and before 6:00 p.m. on the 6th day before polling day
      (a) by a returning officer in an electoral district; or
      (b) by the special voting rules administrator.”

      Under specific circumstances, a person who is removed from their electoral district can cast a ballot for their home riding, but the rules do not allow for a Special Voting Ballot station, which would have the return officer or special voting rules administrator to go to the University set up and pander to students who can vote through mail, or contact the said persons to cast their ballot at the officer/administrator’s election office. That’s what I meant by “privilege.”

      And besides, if all these students were casting special votes for their home ridings, why was there a local Liberal candidate’s supports handing out literature nearby?

      • UofGgrad says:

        What was my assumption? Yes I failed to provide a link to what I cut and pasted from Elections Canada website – you are right I should provide sources. http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&…

        I have not interviewed everyone who cast a ballot that day. I just know what some of the students did. Why the Liberal candidate was handing out literature I don't know. I am sure his time could have been spent better elsewhere. I know the literature that I have received from other campaigns have more party information than candidate info. In fact I received 1 piece that didn't even tell me who the candidate was for my riding.

  15. [...] seriously wrong with Elections Canada when they bend over backwards to allow student votes in an unauthorized special ballot in Guelph so as not to discourage voting, and yet they understaff the first advance polling [...]

  16. [...] Photos have also surfaced of Liberals handing out pamphlets at the University on the day of this Special Ballot vote. Elections Canada agreed that the Conservatives were not aware of this Special Ballot vote, nor were they given enough time to prepare. So is it a conscience that the Returning Officer, reportedly a Liberal, put on this event without advertisement for a purpose? Just sayin. Tags: Afterall, Ballot, Guelph., Mistake, Special, Update [...]

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