Election 2014: City Council passes motion on “Review of the 2014 City of Vancouver Civic Election” – Text, comments

Advance Poll Voting City HallAt a committee meeting on January 21, 2015, Vancouver City Council adopted the text copied below on this important motion. This was after hearing from one speaker (see “25 things the Chief Election Officer should analyze/report on“), deliberating for a couple hours, and major revisions to the text originally proposed by Councillor George Affleck.  (Minutes of meeting here, PDF). Other items (also copied below) were deferred for further discussion on February 3. We highlight some of the key words.

Meanwhile, unless there was a change in plan, Vancouver’s Chief Election Officer destroyed all ballots and election materials on January 22, which means that she has intentionally destroyed any evidence that could have helped resolve several serious questions about the integrity of the election. Despite our direct request to the responsible minister, Coralee Oakes, the Provincial government failed to intervene or even reply. In many ways, the 2014 election was a test of our democratic systems at the municipal level in Vancouver. The adopted motion is a very positive thing, but already, in many ways, Vancouver appears to be have failed the test. (More on that later.)

“Review of the 2014 City of Vancouver Civic Election” (FINAL MOTION AS ADOPTED)

WHEREAS
1. Voter turnout increased by 8.8 points in the 2014 Vancouver election;
2. This is the first time that the City of Vancouver has allowed voters to vote at any polling station in the city;
3. There were several media reports of confusion and irregularities at polling stations, including but not limited to insufficient ballots, inconsistent identification checking and other technical issues;
4. There were media reports of eligible voters, including seniors and persons with disabilities, being discouraged by long waits;
5. There were reports of inconsistent information on the role of Elections BC in the civic election process.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
(a) THAT staff report back to Council to present any official list of public complaints submitted to the City of Vancouver regarding the 2014 civic election.
(b) THAT staff report back to Council to provide information to the public on the processes and procedures during the 2014 City of Vancouver Civic Election, and the statutory role of Elections BC in municipal elections processes and procedures.
(c) THAT staff report back to Council to provide the Chief Elections Officer’s review of the 2014 civic election, including her recommendations to improve processes and procedures, for the next election.

Items sent forward to a February 3 Council meeting are as follows:

REFERRAL MOVED by Councillor Reimer

THAT the following be referred to the Regular Council on February 3, 2015, as Unfinished Business:
THAT staff report back to Council to provide analysis on what factors were considered most significant to the 26% increase in voter turnout between the 2011 and 2014 municipal elections.
CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
(Councillors Louie and Mayor Robertson absent for the vote)

REFERRAL MOVED by Councillor Reimer

THAT the following be referred to Regular Council on February 3, 2015, as Unfinished Business:
THAT staff report back to Council to provide recommendations for the membership and terms of reference for an independent committee with a broad mandate to:
(i) survey candidates and parties as to their experience in the election;
(ii) review whether the allocation of resources from Council is sufficient to meet expectations in an election; and
(iii) (create a plan for advancing previous Council directives to staff regarding electoral procedures including:
Request to Province for ability to implement campaign finance reforms including limits to contributions and a ban on corporate and union donations;
• Request to Province for ability to use proportional voting systems;
• Request to Province to make anonymous balloting data available in open data format after an election;
• Request to Province to conduct an online voting pilot;
• Recommendations 14-18 from the Engaged City Task Force, and recommendation 07.2 from the Healthy City Strategy.
CARRIED
(Councillors Affleck, Ball and De Genova opposed)
(Councillors Louie and Mayor Robertson absent for the vote)

 

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