Windsor

Inaugural council meeting in Essex turns controversial over alleged voter fraud

Most inaugural council meetings are filled with congratulations and thanks, but in Essex the conversation quickly turned into allegations of voter fraud in the most recent election.

'She seems to think this is evidence of Russian collusion or something,' says Chris Vander Doelen

Coun. Sherry Bondy holds up a piece of paper showing proxies used in the last election, and some of them she believes were signed without voters' consent. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Most inaugural council meetings are filled with congratulations and thanks, but in Essex the conversation quickly turned into allegations of voter fraud in the previous election.

Currently the OPP is investigating to see if there is any criminal element with regards to allegations of some proxy forms in October's election being filled out and signed without voters' consent.

During Monday night's meeting in Essex, councillor Sherry Bondy took her opportunity to speak by saying one of her first goals "is restoring trust" in council.

"We need to really close these loopholes on the proxy process and we need to close them fast," said Bondy.

We're suppose to express good wishes toward each other, not declare war.- Chris Vander Doelen, town councillor

She is asking that anyone under investigation on council or administration not be allowed to sit on the police board until that probe is complete.

And Bondy also wants the town to provide documentation to a lawyer, hired by a group of citizens, who's seeking a potential judicial review.

Essex Coun. Chris Vander Doelen doesn't believe there was any wrongdoing in the last election when it comes to proxy votes. (Jason Viau/CBC)

But new councillor Chris Vander Doelen said the inaugural meeting wasn't the time or place for Bondy's comments.

"This is largely a ceremonial inauguration where we're suppose to express good wishes toward each other, not declare war," said Vander Doelen. "This wasn't the place to start playing politics, we've got four years for that."

Besides that, he doesn't believe the allegations amount to anything.

Essex mayor Larry Snively says he isn't interested in speaking about the proxy allegations. (Jason Viau/CBC)

"The long and the short of it is, there were some sloppy forms filled out, but she seems to think this is evidence of Russian collusion or something, but this is really nothing voters have to worry about."

After the meeting, mayor Larry Snively told CBC News he doesn't want to speak about any of the allegations, or Bondy's speech, and said "no comment."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Viau is a video journalist, TV host and radio newsreader at CBC Windsor. He was born in North Bay, but has lived in Windsor for most of his life. Since graduating from St. Clair College, he's worked in print, TV and radio. Email him at jason.viau@cbc.ca

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