OPP investigating concerns of voter fraud after proxies signed without consent
Outgoing mayor Ron McDermott chalks up the matter to forgetfulness
OPP are investigating allegations of election fraud after the Town of Essex said it received two official complaints of proxy ballots being signed without the consent of the electors during Monday's election.
Sherry Bondy, Ward 4 councillor, said she received a call from a woman who was taking her elderly Portuguese mother to vote. After standing in line and waiting for the ballot, they were told that she had already voted by proxy.
Bondy said the woman was alarmed because she hadn't.
Bondy said she has heard concerns from four different people all with similar situations. In each case, the elector has been an elderly Portuguese person.
"We need to know that our election rules were followed by everybody and the people's wishes really did get elected that day," said Bondy.
Bondy said out of the 33 people who used a proxy in her ward, 24 of them were Portuguese people.
To obtain a proxy, a voter must fill out their information and only sign the form after their appointed proxy has filled out their information, there is an oral oath that is taken before the proxy votes.
As of right now, Bondy said she is "certainly not confident that it hasn't been compromised." But outgoing mayor Ron McDermott thinks otherwise, chalking up the matter to forgetfulness.
"A lot of us old timers can't remember what we did yesterday versus a week ago," he said. "It was all done above board, it was legal and now this young council lady has got her nose involved in it."
McDermott said he is unaware as to how exactly the proxy system works but he said he is sure everything happened legally.
When contacted, newly-elected mayor Larry Snively said he had no comment.