Trevor Reid, who said he lost his own seat “fair and square,” alleged polling staff wrongly turned voters away on Nov. 9. He said that may mean the difference in two divisions, which were decided by one and seven votes.
Those results could have changed “if people weren’t denied their right to vote on election day,” he said.
Residents couldn’t vote because they failed to offer proof of address or a land description, Reid said, adding that proof of identity and a completed voter declaration form are all that’s required.
Reeve Jay Olyniuk said polling staff only turned away voters who lacked proper identification. He said candidates are free to challenge the results if they wish, but none have done so. He said the results reflected the will of the RM’s voters.
“Voters did come out in strong numbers, showing … they wanted a change. They got the change that they wanted.”
The Local Government Elections Act says if a voter’s identification doesn’t have evidence of residency in a municipality, “but is, in the opinion of the deputy returning officer, consistent with information relating to the person that appears on the voter’s list or voter’s registration form, the person’s residence is established for the purposes of voting.”
In a prepared statement, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said it was unaware of the concerns, but noted poor weather conditions during last month’s elections may have kept voters away from polls.
The RM of Dundurn is about 30 kilometres south of Saskatoon.
Deputy Reeve Fred Baran, who wasn’t up for election, said election staff asked him for a land location so he could vote. He presented his property titles on his phone, but wasn’t happy about it. He worries the requirement could have discouraged others from voting, he said.
“Had I not found that … on my phone, I would have gone home and I wouldn’t have come back to the polls.”
When the matter came before council last on Nov. 26, he said he was the only member to vote for challenging the election results. He said the meeting minutes will be released in the coming weeks, but declined to comment on the council’s discussions.
Travis Libke, who lost his division’s election by a single vote, said he is weighing a legal challenge. However, he worries some of the legal costs are prohibitive and may prevent him from pursuing the matter.
He said he raised the issue with Olyniuk and wanted council to apologize.
“When somebody’s denied the right to vote and they live here, in my opinion, that’s just wrong.”
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