Quebec Votes

Quebec Green Party candidate told he's not eligible to vote

A candidate in Quebec's 2014 election has been told he's not allowed to vote, drawing attention to the fact the Elections Act doesn't require background checks on candidates' eligiblity.

If elected, Brendan Edge could face a lawsuit or contestation from the chief electoral officer

Quebec Green Party candidate Brendan Edge says he's considering taking legal action after he was told he's not eligible to vote in the upcoming provincial election. (Facebook)

A candidate in Quebec's 2014 election has been refused the right to vote, which means he could face a lawsuit from the chief electoral officer if he's elected in his riding.

Quebec's chief electoral office (DGE) confirms that Brendan Edge is running as a candidate in Chomedey for the Green Party of Quebec. He's listed on the DGE's website as well as on his party's website.

But when Edge visited the local revision office with all his documentation to register to vote, he says he was turned down.

You could say there was a gap in the law if it was a frequent problem, but I think it's an isolated case.'- Denis Dion, Chief electoral office spokesman

"They said that [my documents] didn't prove that I was domiciled in Quebec and one of the men seeing me claimed that he checked and I wasn't even a candidate," he said. 

Edge, who works and pays income tax in Quebec, said he moved from Ontario three years ago to study at McGill University.

Edge is one of many people who have publicly reported that they were turned down by the revision officers over the province's "in domicile" requirements.

The Quebec Elections Act requires all voters to prove that Quebec has been their main place of residence for the past six months, which complicates things for students from out of province, who often still have their old health cards and driver's licences.

Voters vetted more thoroughly than candidates

But that strict screening process does not apply to candidates, which creates issue for people like Edge. 

Chief electoral office spokesman Denis Dion explains that candidates are only required to present a valid nomination paper and documents that verify their identity to the returning officer.

Candidates are also required to swear an oath that they're eligible to vote, but the returning officer is not required to ask for any proof of that claim.

Dion said cases like Edge's are an exception. 

"He was obviously not aware of his status as a voter," Dion said. 

"You could say there was a gap in the law if it was a frequent problem, but I think it's an isolated case."

The Quebec Elections Act states clearly that anyone elected to the national assembly must be a valid elector, which means Edge could be facing serious consequences if he wins in his riding. 

According to Dion, Edge's election could be contested because he was not an elector, or he could also be sued by the chief electoral office.

Dion said Edge could face a lawsuit from the chief electoral office even if he's not elected.

Dion said that Edge's candidacy will remain valid, and the office will be keeping an eye on Edge's campaign. 

"We took a good note of the story of Mr. Edge as candidate. We know him and we know what happened to him, but I can’t tell you if we’re going to do something more than that, it’s premature," Dion said.

Edge plans to take legal action

In the meantime, ​​Edge said he's considering legal action of his own.

He'll be one of several people contesting their right to vote in the Quebec election.

Constitutional rights lawyer Julius Grey has already confirmed he is representing several others who have been kept off the voters list. 

Grey said he'll be filing an injunction with Quebec Superior Court next week.


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