I see from this week’s Crowsnest Promoter that the municipality is looking to hire a Returning Officer for our upcoming election in October.
In this regard, I hope they do a better job than they did the last time around. If my memory serves me right, in the last election we had 377 municipalities, villages, towns & cities that went to the polls in Alberta. Of those 377, a handful (5) did NOT conduct their elections as the others did in our province.
Our municipality was one of those 5. As a result, we had so many ‘irregularities’ that it left a cloud of suspicion in many peoples minds as to the legitimacy of our municipal election here in the Crowsnest Pass.
Irregularities, such as:
- no voter’s list
- no proof of I.D. required
- no guarantee people did not vote more than once at any of our 5 voting polls
- changes in procedures (voting stations did not bring their voting boxes to the municipality for counting, which is how it has been traditional done but instead were counted at the individual polling stations, with the results phoned in to who knows where?)
- the Mayoralty race had a separate ballot yet it took well over two hours after the polls closed for the results to appear? Even then the results came in sporadically?
- results for at least one councillor who was way behind in votes throughout the night, ‘magically’ appeared near the head of the pact with the last update?
- etc., etc., etc.
Because of how our last Returning Officer conducted our municipal election many in our community feel the results were ‘tainted’ if not outright ‘questionable’ as to their legitimacy. I know I do!
I hope this time council ensures our election is run like others in our province, rather than being the unusual ‘exception’ it was last time around. After all, democracy cannot be advancing if its parts are autocratic, fixed or tainted.
UPDATE: (June 19) Along with this post, I sent a letter of concern to the municipality’s CAO and his Executive Assistant Lynne Cox, and subsequently received a letter back from our Director of Finance and Systems Marion Vanoni informing me that she and Lynne will be in charge of recruiting our next Returning Officer.
Knowing Marion is in charge of this important task of hiring the right person to ensure we have an honest and fair election is good enough for me. I feel reassured now, that this time around that is what will happen. Good!
Democracy is something a sociopath loathes, because it represents public constraint by ‘little people’ on his autocratic power.