Calgary

Alleged voter fraud in Calgary NDP nomination sparks calls for inquiry

Members of a defeated NDP nomination candidate’s team in northeast Calgary are calling for an investigation into alleged voter fraud at a nomination vote late last year.

Defeated nominee's team has complained to party, Alberta’s election commissioner

Inderpreet Singh Gill with Roop Rai’s campaign says the NDP needs to investigate the issue of fraudulent voting in nominations contests, like the one if Calgary-North East in December, where Rai was defeated by Gurbachan Brar. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Members of a defeated NDP nomination candidate's team in northeast Calgary are calling for an investigation into alleged voter fraud at a nomination vote late last year.

Gurbachan Brar comfortably defeated Roop Rai to win the NDP nomination in the riding of Calgary-North East on Dec. 16,  2018, but a member of Rai's campaign says complaints about people from outside the riding voting fraudulently were brushed off by the party.

The complaints allege people voted using false addresses and documents, both ahead of the vote and on the day itself. 

Now Inderpreet Singh Gill, who acted as a scrutineer in the contest, is joining Rai to call for an investigation.

Voters in the nomination contest cast their ballots last month. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Gill says at least two people who live outside the Calgary-North East riding turned up on nomination day and voted using documentation containing false addresses. He thinks there could have been many more.

He raised the issue about suspect pieces of ID being used with the NDP's nomination chair during the vote but says his complaints were all overruled.

Rai's team said they also made the party aware of their concerns in the run up to the vote, during and after the contest.

"When we emailed the party after the election we gave names and they acknowledged two people did vote and they said that doesn't influence the course of the election so they're letting that go," Gill said.

"Even two votes is too much, and we are saying, there were more. How can it be that people living in other ridings can influence my choice? They are hijacking the election.

"There should be stricter identification," Gill added. "It should be more stringent."

'Scrupulous' requirements followed, party says

In an email to CBC Calgary, NDP provincial secretary Roari Richardson said, "We followed scrupulous identification requirements that are in line with the standards set out by Elections Alberta."

"Elections Alberta states that voters can provide one piece of government-issued ID containing their photograph, their name, and current address," the secretary said in the statement. "If they are unable to provide government-issued ID, they must provide two pieces of authorized ID. Both must have their name and one must have their current physical address."

Gurbachan Brar, the NDP candidate who won the nomination vote in Calgary-North East, was contacted by CBC but declined to comment.

Letter to election commissioner

In a letter to Alberta's election commissioner sent this week, Gill claimed he had spoken with the owner of one home in the riding that had 15 different people using it as their home address on the NDP's membership list.

Gill said another address they were made aware of in the riding had 12 NDP members registered to it.

Gill said the first homeowner involved has filed a complaint with Calgary Police about his address being used fraudulently. 

As well as an investigation into the Dec. 16 vote, which Gill said the party hasn't so far acknowledged or taken seriously, he wants to see stricter ID requirements introduced for future nomination votes.

"We want a fair fight and for it to be above board and clean. If that kind of politics is going to take place why even have the farce of an election?" he said, adding he has a list of addresses in Calgary-North East communities with similar concerns about them being used to register fraudulent voters from outside of the riding.

"If the NDP says they are better than the others then they should prove it. It should be a fair and above board process," said Gill.

"It is definitely rampant in the northeast, in the three ridings that we have. It's a rampant problem and it has to be nipped in the bud," said Gill.

Gill said he also has concerns around international students being allowed to vote in nomination contests.

Petition signed

A petition has gathered signatures from around 150 NDP members and supporters in the northeast, who say they plan to leave the party over the issue.

"I stand strongly and firmly with the residents of Calgary-Northeast who are questioning the electoral process of the Dec. 16 nomination contest that apparently allowed at least two confirmed fraudulent votes to be cast," defeated candidate Roop Rai said.

"The outcome is not being questioned; only the process is, and I think, as Albertans, we are all well within our democratic rights to ask for an investigation into a questionable election process, especially when there is evidence."

About the Author

Dan McGarvey

Journalist

Dan McGarvey is a mobile journalist covering all kinds of stories from northeast Calgary for web, radio, TV and social media, using only an iPhone and mobile tech. You can email story ideas and tips to Dan at: dan.mcgarvey@cbc.ca or tweet him @DanMcGarvey

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