Windsor

Oops. Liberal Windsor West candidate posts photo of ballot on Twitter

Liberal candidate Sandra Pupatello may have violated the Canada Elections Act by posting a photo of her ballot.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections wouldn't confirm if the matter was being investigated

Liberal candidate Sandra Pupatello may have violated the Canada Elections Act by posting a photo of her ballot. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Liberal candidate Sandra Pupatello may have violated the Canada Elections Act by posting a photo of her ballot.

Pupatello, running in Windsor West, posted a photo of her completed ballot on Twitter Saturday, saying "I did it! I voted for me!" and tagging the Liberal Party of Canada in Ontario Twitter account.

Sandra Puptallo tweeted a photo of her ballot on the weekend — which violates the Elections Canada Act. (Twitter)

About five minutes later, Pupatello deleted the tweet, apologizing. 

The Commissioner of Canada Elections wouldn't confirm if the matter was being investigated, but referred CBC to Section 163 of the Canada Elections Act, which states that a person's vote is secret.

Other provisions under the Canada Elections Act prohibit "photographs, videos or copies of marked ballots," as excerpted below:

Photograph, video or copy of marked ballot

281.8 (1) No person shall

       (a) take a photograph or make a video recording of a ballot or special ballot that has been marked, at an election, by an elector;

       (b) make a copy, in any manner, of any ballot or special ballot that has been marked, at an election, by an elector; or

       (c) distribute or show, in any manner, to one or more persons, a photograph, video recording or copy of a ballot or special ballot that has been marked, at an election, by an elector.

Should there be an investigation, the Commissioner's office said a fine of up to $5,000 may be imposed, or imprisonment of up to six months — or both. 

"That being said, the Commissioner has other means of ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Act including compliance agreements and administrative monetary penalties," said Myriam Croussette for the Commissioner's office in an email.

A spokesperson for Pupatello declined to comment further, referring instead to the second tweet acknowledging the photo should not have been posted.

'Obviously not something you should do'

NDP candidate Brian Masse didn't see the photo.

"I don't follow her Twitter account but that's obviously that's not something you would do," said Masse. "I focus on our campaign ... I don't focus on the opponents. Obviously that's not something you should do."

Masse "couldn't say" if there should be any repercussions for Pupatello's photo. 

NDP candidate Brian Masse says he 'didn't see' an Oct. 12 tweet from Liberal candidate Sandra Pupatello in which she posted a photo of her completed ballot — a possible violation of the Canada Elections Act. 0:24

"The vote in Canada — in most places — is secret," said Elections Canada regional media advisor Rejean Grenier. 

Grenier said the issue isn't good for a lot of reasons — it's not fair to other voters, or to the process itself.

"When a candidate does it ... it doesn't even really mean anything. We didn't think she was going to vote for someone else," said Grenier. 

According to Grenier, people can tell their friends or family who they voted for, but generally speaking the vote should be secret. He also said the rules are "pretty simple."

"You can't take photos in a polling station. You can't take pictures of electors, except from the back. You can take pictures from the doorway," said Grenier.

Years of experience in politics

Pupatello has years of experience in politics, having served as an MPP from 1995 to 2011 as a member of the Ontario Liberal Party under Dalton McGuinty. 

During her first term as an MPP, she was the opposition critic for community and social services, children's issues, youth issues and the management board of cabinet. 

Re-elected in 2003, Pupatello was appointed as the minister of community and social services. In 2006, she was appointed the minister of education, but was reassigned a short time later as minister of economic development and trade. 

In 2008, Pupatello took the role of the minister of international trade and development. 

Pupatello was the co-manager of Dwight Duncan's 1996 campaign for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership. 

In November of 2012, Pupatello announced her candidacy for the Liberal Party of Ontario leadership role, but lost to Kathleen Wynne in January 2013. 

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