Voters raise red flags over missing ballots days before Manitoba's new premier is chosen
Just days before a new Premier is chosen, the PC party is dealing with questionable memberships and missing ballots.
Ballots are to be mailed in by Friday to choose the new leader Saturday, either Tuxedo MLA Heather Stefanson or former cop and MP Shelly Glover.
Gimli area party member Cheryl Andrews says neither her nor her husband’s ballot has arrived.
“I would have really liked to have gotten a ballot and my concern also is that how many other people didn’t get their ballots,” said Andrews.
Andrews wants the vote delayed.
“I think they need to do some investigating, why some people aren’t getting their ballots and rectify that.”
Glover tells CTV News her campaign is fielding a lot of calls on this issue.
“We’re very concerned that the process could have impacted thousands of votes,” said Glover.
Heather Stefanson’s campaign is not as concerned, sending CTV News this statement.
“We are aware of the issue, as is the PC Party, who is currently working on a solution. We have the utmost confidence in the Party to ensure everyone who wants to vote will have the ability,” Stefanson said.
The PC Leadership Election Committee issued a statement to CTV News as well saying it has distributed 25,000 ballots.“As with any mail-in election system, there have been a limited number of undeliverable ballots returned to our office. Postal delivery is no longer a viable option to distribute replacement ballots. We are doing all we can to ensure all eligible members have an opportunity to cast their ballot, including offering ballot pick up locations,” the committee said.
Premier Kelvin Goertzen says it’s not uncommon for problems to arise with that many ballots.
“There’s been a leadership committee appointed weeks ago who have been running this, working through issues as they’ve found them, it’s not unusual in any leadership race,” said Goertzen.
The Tories political opponents are also raising other concerns.
NDP MLA Malaya Marcelino says the NDP has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Elections claiming a man was signed up for a paid PC membership and received a ballot without his knowledge or permission.
“What we make out of this is that there’s something kind of fishy going on, it’s actually membership fraud,” said Marcelino.
The PC party says it has the man’s signature and payment records listing him as a new member, which was submitted by one of the campaigns.
Not to be outdone Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says his party has filed their own complaint
They’ve dug up an August social media post from a Stefanson supporter, PC MLA Bob Lagasse. It states anyone in his area who signs or renews a membership will be entered into a draw for a custom pair of sneakers.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a contest for a new car or a pair of shoes, you can’t be offering people prizes for signing up to vote,” said Lamont.
A statement from PC Leadership Election Committee Chair George Orle says if a complaint was filed they will cooperate with an investigation.
“We do not condone or approve of any attempt to circumvent the Election Financing Act,” said Orle.
CTV News was unable to reach Bob Lagasse for comment.