SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A grassroots group out of Surrey claims there are a number of people trying to take advantage of absentee voting in order to influence the results of the upcoming civic elections.
Gurpreet Sahota, a member of Wake Up Surrey, claims that around 600 members of the South Asian community are collecting key personal information from others in order to appropriate their vote.
“Individuals came forward and gave us some forms which showed us there was a fraud going on. There was a group of people trying to get absentee votes trying to get names, addresses, phone numbers, date of births, passport numbers of drivers licences numbers from individuals.”
With all the information gathered, Sahota says the members of the fraud group then attempt to send in ballots.
“Then they say you don’t have to go vote, we’ll vote for you ourselves. It’s all happening because of the mail in ballots, what they do is they fill the forms, use their own address, get the mail package and try to vote for who they want.”
He says each of the people involved have a target of 25 ballots each, ending up with a total of 15-thousand compromised votes.
“That can change any victory or loss. It’s not democracy, it shouldn’t happen here. Everyone has a right to vote. There’s no true democracy here, it’s shocking that this is happening in Canada.”
Sahota adds the situation has been stressful for victims, as they are often approached by their employers, friends and even family members.
“The individuals told us when they get the forms they are forced to fill it or they are threatened with losing their jobs, some builders said to tradesmen if they don’t fill the forms, there wont be any jobs in the future. They are threatening. People came forward, I appreciate that they did that otherwise I don’t know if we would have any way to find this.”
A case has now been opened with the RCMP, who say they will be putting out a warning to the public in the days ahead.
“What they told us is that they will be doing some thing to make people aware, that this is a fraud, it’s a crime. You can’t vote for anyone else, you can only vote for yourself. You can’t give anyone the right to vote for anyone else.
“It’s illegal and it’s unethical. They opened a file and they’re investigating. They’re looking for witnesses. Right now we aren’t blaming anyone, we don’t know who is doing it.”
Sahota says after struggling for decades to get the right to vote, it’s not a responsibility that should be taken lightly.
“For my community, it was hard to get the right to vote. Our elders fought for it. This is not something you can give to anyone. You’re allowed to vote for anyone, it’s a free country, vote for who you like. But don’t sell your vote.”