Manitoba

Brandon couple receives 4 voter information cards, including 2 with misspelled names

A Brandon woman wants to know why she and her husband each received two voter information cards — one set with slight misspellings of their names.

Elections Manitoba doesn't believe issue is widespread, but asks people voter card concerns to call

Elections Manitoba says they aren't aware of any widespread problems with people getting two voter information cards, it is possible for duplicates to be mailed out inadvertently. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

A Brandon woman wants to know why she and her husband each received two voter information cards — one set with slight misspellings of their names.

Mary-Louise Davis found the cards in her mailbox on Monday and first noticed there were four cards for two adults in her household, then that two had variations of her and her husband's names. 

"I was thinking maybe it was a mistake," she said, upon looking at her two cards. "But the same thing happened to my husband's card and it was a slightly different type of error.

"It was just strange that we received two erroneous voter information cards," Davis said.

All four cards had the correct address, but one of Davis's cards misplaced a B for G in one of her names, while the incorrect version of her husband's was missing two names and misspelled his last name.

The other two had the correct spellings. 

Davis said she called Elections Manitoba to advise them of the error, as all four cards had different voter identification numbers, meaning cards with the incorrect names were technically registered as separate people and voters as well. 

"I didn't want to jump to any conclusions about what had happened," she said. "I don't think they could remove the incorrect people from the list, so they're still there."

A spokesperson for Elections Manitoba said while they aren't aware of any widespread issues with people being issued two voter information cards, it is possible for duplicates to be mailed out inadvertently. 

The agency started using a new system earlier this year and Elections Manitoba depends on voters to flag any errors they notice, spokesperson Allison Mitchell told Ramraajh Sharvendiran, host of CBC Manitoba's Radio Noon.

"We don't want to remove a voter from the list if there's a chance that there are two voters with similar names at the same address, so we need to balance data integrity with the ability for all eligible voters to vote," she said.

Elections Manitoba compares its information to other government databases, she said.

"If the two records aren't identical, we would err on the side of caution of issuing two cards to what could be two different voters."

There is no risk of someone receiving a card that didn't belong to them and then using that to vote because people need a second piece of identification when they cast their ballot, Mitchell said. 

Davis said she hasn't heard of anyone else with the same issue, but CBC News has heard from other voters who have had errors on their cards.

Davis received four cards for two adults in her home, and noticed her and her husband's names were misspelled. (Submitted by Mary-Louise Davis)

Jayne Paradis, who lives in Winnipeg, said she also received two voter cards.

"I just thought it was strange," she told CBC News.

Paradis said she got cards addressed to both her given name, which she uses to vote — Catherine Jayne Paradis — and another to just Jayne, which she uses informally.

She's not sure how the error could have occurred and said voter cards and information for previous elections have been correct.

"I thought … 'Why am I getting two cards?' " Paradis said.

"We take every precaution to ensure there are no errors on the VICs," Elections Manitoba's emailed statement said. "We will issue voters a new one if they call with an error on theirs." 

Davis still would like to know what happened.

"I would really like assurance that the incorrect people have been taken off the list," she said. "It would be nice to have a little investigation about why these people ended up on the list."


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About the Author

Riley Laychuk is CBC's reporter based in Brandon, covering rural Manitoba. Share your story ideas, tips and feedback: riley.laychuk@cbc.ca.

With files from Samantha Samson

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