In the House on Monday, Con MP Laurie Hawn’s memory appeared to pick up where Brad Butt’s left off, as he repeated Butt’s earlier allegations — later retracted — about voter information cards being picked up from apartment building lobbies for fraudulent voting purposes.
Hawn, as per the vid excerpt above:
“In the 2006 election, I was called personally and offered hundreds of voter cards that had been left in apartment buildings and so on. Like an idiot, I said, ‘No, we don’t do that sort of thing.’ I should have said, “Yes, come on down,” and had the police waiting.’
But according to The Hill Times, on Tuesday:
“Elections Canada told The Hill Times the voter information card was not accepted as voter ID in the 2006 election, when it was used solely as mail-out information to voters about their poll locations and was not required at the polls even as a way to help polling officials direct voters to their polling station ballot box.”
As it happens, on April 27, 2006, the very year in question and three months after the election, Hawn brought up this same allegation with Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley at the PROC Committee.
“During the last campaign, we got an e-mail from a prominent Edmonton lawyer about the fact that many individuals were enumerated at their downtown offices instead of at their homes. One individual bragged about how many times he had gotten to vote for my opponent based on the number of leases he had in the riding and therefore the number of voter cards he received. That number was 14.”
Hawn had a team stay up all night to check into this and they uncovered “300 apparently spurious registrations and several hundred suspicious ones,” including “karaoke bars, lingerie stores, dance lounges”:
“We found 100 non-existent addresses in Edmonton’s downtown core. In some cases the addresses listed were fictional residences between two genuine buildings. We found hundreds of families registered to vote out of their law offices, medical offices, accounting offices, Government of Canada offices.
In some cases there may have been genuine errors involved, but in other cases married couples, including their children, were registered to vote out of high-rise office spaces. Dozens of people were registered to vote out of office towers, but suite numbers were not listed, making the addresses look like normal residential addresses. Some people were registered to vote in other ridings as well as ours. In some cases people were registered to vote only in Edmonton Centre when it was clear they lived in another riding. One of those included a candidate.
Dozens of people were registered to vote out of storage yards, and yet there’s no legitimate way anybody can be registered to vote out of a storage yard. Eighteen people were registered to vote out of one truck stop. People were registered to vote out of karaoke bars, lingerie stores, dance lounges, galleries; you get the picture.
We had other observations with respect to the voter cards. Some nationalities routinely get multiple voter cards.”
Then he got around to voter info cards left in lobbies:
A lot of people in apartment buildings are fairly transient, and voter cards get left in stacks in lobbies of apartment buildings. The cards can then be picked up and used by anyone. Since we don’t require identification at the polling station, anybody can be anybody. This election and last, in fact, we got phone calls — anonymous, naturally — offering us extra voter cards, for money, naturally. We, naturally, refused.
. . . for purposes of the income tax system, some people register their addresses as their accountant’s, so we were getting the accountant’s address as a genuine address. We were able to purge the lists of these before the election.
and then to Hawn’s complaint about voter info cards left in lobbies. Remember, this is in 2006:
“There is no voter card in this country. It’s a voter information card. It’s information that is provided. That card does not entitle one to vote. It certainly does not entitle one to vote multiple times.”
“The example that I used in the beginning was that of a lawyer, who clearly knows better, bragging that he voted 14 times for my opponent in the 2004 election because he had a voter card for each of the 14 properties that he leased in the riding.”
“Hawn’s campaign actually issued a news release in January of 2006 to announce it had filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Elections Canada about ‘massive voter list irregularities’ in his riding of Edmonton Centre, alleging that non-residential buildings or ‘non-existent’ addresses were listed on the voter rolls.
But the 2006 release does not make mention of an offer for voter identification cards.”
Or money for turning them over. That’s odd. Perhaps the Opposition could ask him about that. Back to CBC:
About a week before the 2006 election, Hawn’s campaign gave a list of suspect names found on the voters list to Elections Canada.
Hawn’s campaign office ‘made such a stink about it’ that Elections Canada put on extra staff in Edmonton Centre on voting day. Hawn won that election.
A year later, in January 2007, Elections Canada issued a release about the results of its investigation into Hawn’s complaint. It found 93 voters who used what it called ‘non-residential addresses’ and reports it interviewed ‘most of these electors.’
The upshot of the investigation was that 21 voters who did not live in Edmonton Centre were revealed to have voted there. Elections Canada found that all had ‘updated’ their addresses, although the report doesn’t say when that happened. The report says none voted twice and nor was any link found between them.
Perhaps because of Hawn’s complaint, the report goes on to say, ‘On election day, electors listed at potential non-residential addresses, including these 21, were highlighted on the lists of electors, and election officers obtained proof of residence from these electors before they voted.’
Blithering idiot parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Paul Calandra:
told the House that in the 2006 election, as a scrutineer for the Conservative Party, he had seen his dead mother’s name on a list of voters who were recorded as having already voted.
‘She had actually passed away in 2005, and when I asked the person why her name was checked off the list, she assured me that my mother had been in earlier in the day to vote. When I explained to her that was not possible, I was ushered out of the polling station,’ Calandra said.
Reached by phone late Tuesday, Calandra said he made a mistake when he said he was a scrutineer in that election.
Sigh. Well, it is Calandra after all.