Masked cowboy voter irks Edmonton polling officials

Voters were taken aback when a masked man showed up at an Edmonton Riverbend polling station demanding to cast a federal election ballot.

Election officials more bothered by woman shooting video than man in cowboy hat, with scarf around face

A man dressed as a cowboy with his face covered by a bandana raised eyebrows when he entered an advance polling station in south Edmonton on Monday. (Courtesy of Christian Munoz)

A masked man who showed up at a polling station in south Edmonton on Monday drew little reaction from voters, but irked federal election officials.

One voter, Christian Munoz, was just leaving the Riverbend polling station at Father William Irwin school when he noticed an unusual couple trying to draw attention. 

"One was wearing a cowboy hat, sort of scarf around his face covering everything but his eyes. His partner, a female, was behind him holding an iPad," he said.

"The woman had a smile and said to him, 'Are you ready for this?' " Munoz said. "So I think they were trying to get that reaction, to get the attention."

That prompted Munoz to shoot video, but not many of the other voters at the polling station took notice. 

"Nobody really reacted. Some people did take notice, but nobody really said anything. There was a bit of pointing ... but nothing I would think they expected."

It wasn't until the couple was leaving that election officials spoke up, but it wasn't the man's get-up that irked them, Munoz said. It was the woman's iPad. 

The advance polling station at Monsignor William Irwin school was busy Monday afternoon. (Kim Trynacity/CBC)
Election officials told the couple it was illegal to record video in a polling station, he said.  

"He pleaded with him, and asked them to erase the footage and they refused."

According to the Elections Canada website, voters are not allowed to take photographs or make audio or video recordings inside a polling station.

Munoz said he wasn't sure what point the couple was trying to make.

"I think they were trying to make a mockery of the whole election process and the decision to allow women who do choose to wear the niqab to vote and to become citizens and so forth," he said.

"I was very offended by what he was doing or trying to do."

Once the man produced proper identification, he was allowed to vote, Munoz said.

Elections Canada said similar events have occurred at other advance polls across the country.

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