SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Potential for wide-spread voter fraud has one Surrey party asking to scrap absentee ballots.
Proudly Surrey mayoral candidate Pauline Greaves wants to end all mail-in ballots in Surrey’s upcoming municipal election to make sure any apparent scheme doesn’t succeed.
“We don’t know the extent of the level,” she tells NEWS 1130. “I think my concern is if we wait until the RCMP actually complete their investigation, it could take up until after the election.”
Allegations of a mass voter fraud scheme surfaced on Friday.
Wake Up Surrey — the group that reported the potential issue to the RCMP — claims more than 600 people of the South Asian community may have been involved.
While getting rid of absentee ballots may penalize some innocent voters, Greaves believes the alternative is worse.
“In order for the process to be fair and open and have transparency, it means that we should discard all of the ballots.”
Rajesh Jayaprakash with People First Surrey, however, says he thinks they should wait and let Elections B.C. and the RCMP look into the matter.
He dismisses claims that members of the South Asian community are collecting key personal information from others in order to appropriate their vote.
On the topic of mail-in ballots, Jayaprakash believes they should continue to be allowed.
“I think Elections BC has the processes, and the Canadian system already has certain processes,” he says. “Let them do their job. Let the RCMP do their job. We are candidates, we don’t have to be in the middle of that.”
Surrey First mayoral candidate Tom Gill says he’s not adverse to the issue of scrapping mail-in ballots.
“I think that if there’s a concern there, I’d be in a position to be able to support that initiative, but I really would like to better understand what’s happening at city hall and better understand what the numbers look like,” he explains. “But certainly, I’m not opposed to cancelling the mail-in ballots.”
Gill says there’s no question that cancelling absentee ballots might affect some people’s ability to vote. However, he fully supports an investigation into the claims of voter fraud.
“I think that there’s a lot of unknowns right now, but I think that we need to contact city hall on Monday. We need to understand what has happened, and how we can understand what the implications are.”
Wake Up Surrey claims each person involved in the supposed scheme has a target of 25 ballots each, which could result in more about 15,000 compromised votes.
Election day across B.C. is Oct. 20.