Surrey RCMP investigating suspected voter fraud
Chief Election Officer Anthony Capuccinello Iraci says RCMP following up after suspicions were raised
Surrey's chief election officer says he has "sufficient cause to suspect illegal activity" around the mail ballot process in the leadup to the Oct. 20 municipal election.
Anthony Capuccinello Iraci confirmed the RCMP is investigating allegations of voter fraud, but said it was too early in the voting process for any harm to have been done.
"I want to make this abundantly clear: no ballot has been mailed out …. [our process] has not been compromised," he said.
Surrey RCMP say their investigation has been given high priority due to the time-sensitive nature of the the issue.
Mail-out ballot packages cancelled
Capuccinello Iraci said in light of the allegations, ballots packages would now only be available for in-person pickup by applicants who provided a signature and photo ID.
Previously, ballot packages had also been available through the mail.
"We are confident the procedures we have in place will preserve the integrity of the mail ballot voting process," he said.
So far there have been 160 applications for ballot packages. Only 15 of those have been distributed, all through the in-person pickup process.
Voter fraud alleged
Four days ago, South Asian community outreach group Wake Up Surrey alleged that unidentified parties were requesting absentee ballots and voting illegally by forging voter signatures.
Wake Up Surrey also alleged people were being told whom to vote for.
Spokesperson Sukhi Sandhu said the group received numerous phone calls and inquiries over the past week from individuals saying they, or someone they knew, had been targeted.
"Sadly, there is a group that is aligned with one or more campaigns that has put together a scheme to undermine our democracy in this upcoming election," said Sandhu, declining to say who he thought that group was.
Criminal charges possible?
In a statement released Saturday, Proudly Surrey Party mayoral candidate Pauline Greaves reacted to the fraud allegations by calling for an immediate suspension of all mail-in voting in Surrey.
Capuccinello Iraci would not elaborate on the nature of the alleged fraud but said, if proven, they could constitute a violation of the Criminal Code or of the Local Government Act.
"Crown counsel will make the decision on how to proceed if it gets to that point," he said.