Defeated NDP candidate hosts town hall to talk voter fraud allegations in nomination race
Nomination races not given same oversight as elections, says Roop Rai
About 100 residents of a northeast Calgary riding gathered on Saturday to talk about how to ensure integrity reigns in politics, amid allegations of voter fraud that surfaced after a December NDP nomination race.
Defeated candidate Roop Rai claimed the Calgary-North East race was marred by fraudulent voting, saying people with party memberships from outside the riding used false addresses and ID to vote.
Their democratic rights are being trampled on by these fraudulent processes.- Roop Rai, defeated NDP candidate
About 1,300 people voted in the riding, with Gurbachan Brar winning the nomination.
Rai called for an investigation but the NDP said they stand by their process, following ID requirements set by Elections Alberta.
But she fears that unless constituents are educated about the democratic process the same issue could resurface in other ridings.
"Their democratic rights are being trampled on by these fraudulent processes," Rai said. "I think we need to get together as a community and start brainstorming ideas, suggestions as to what we can do going forward to fix the system."
Rai said one of her concerns is that there's no independent body governing the nomination process, despite it being the first step of a democratic election.
That was a message David Hartwick, a vice-president for Northern Hills Community Association and a speaker at the town hall, echoed.
"I really believe in democracy and I believe we need to be holding everyone more accountable," he said.
"Ultimately, if there's rules going into an election why do the same rules not apply."
Other fraught nomination races
The Calgary-North East race wasn't the only one facing concerns of an unfair nomination process.
On Saturday, the UCP cleared Calgary-East candidate Peter Singh of allegations of fraud and bribery in his nomination race, saying they could not be substantiated. Earlier last year, Independent MLA Prag Gill called the UCP's nomination process "crooked and racist." He left the party after he was accused of ballot-stuffing.
And last week, a former MLA Ian Donovan stepped down from the UCP, saying there were backroom deals happening during the nomination process.
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With files from Terri Trembath