CityHallWatch asks Minister to prohibit destruction of 2014 Vancouver election ballots: Evidence still needed to verify/explain irregularities

Times over voted ballots rejected Vancouver 2005 to 2014

(Epilogue: After considerable delay we received an e-mail from Minister Oakes, rejecting the request to intervene to prevent the destruction of the ballots. Several days later, we received a report from Vancouver’s Chief Election Officer that the ballots would be destroyed immediately.)

Many irregularities in the 2014 civic election have yet to be explained. Public scrutiny is critically important.

Legislation permits (but does NOT require) Vancouver’s Chief Election Officer to destroy the ballots after January 14, 2015.

On January 12, 2015, CityHallWatch wrote to the responsible minister (Minister Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development) asking that she prohibit the destruction of ballots until questions can be answered after an independent authority visually/manually inspects the ballots in question. CityHallWatch wrote to the City’s Chief Election Officer (Janice MacKenzie) today (January 14) with a request not to destroy the ballots. Further below is the text of both e-mails.

But first, see this table, a summary of data we have tabulated directly from the City of Vancouver website.

Careful analysis is required for the information below. To prove that the integrity of the 2014 election was protected, the Chief Election Officer has an obligation to provide convincing and independently verifiable explanations. Note especially the huge discrepancies in “times voted,” “blank votes,” “times under voted,” and more over the past four elections. Were there problems with the new optical readers of the ballot cards? Were there hardware or software problems with the entirely-new system? Were votes compiled incorrectly? Was the data tampered with? Were ballots tampered with? Public trust in the election depends on the answers to those questions.

TABLE: Comparison of official municipal election results in City of Vancouver spreadsheets – City Councillor race

City Council Race 2005 2008 2011 2014 Terminology in 2014
Registered Voters 404,958 403,663 418,878 415,978 Registered Voters (CoV)
Times Counted 124,285 144,823 1,806,680 Times Counted
Times Blank Voted 3,366 3,396 4,411 119 Ballots Cast – Blank
Times Over Voted 86 134 159 5,930 Times Over Voted
Number of Under Votes 202,519 168,632 198,057 347,939 Number of Under Votes
? ? ? ? 1,452,811 Counted Votes

Source: City’s official spreadsheets for past elections.

Related coverage:
Vancouver civic election: Investigation demanded into soaring number of rejected ballots
(Sam Cooper, The Province, 13-Jan-2015)
Community activist wants increase in rejected election ballots investigated
(Joanne Abshire, News1130, 13-Jan-2015)
NPA Coun. George Affleck seeks review of 2014 Vancouver election
(Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, 14-Jan-2015)
See Councillor George Affleck’s Facebook page for text of his motion for Regular Council Jan 20, 2014. Here: (For convenience, we also copy the text of his motion at the bottom of this post.)

Continue reading