The Yukon’s chief electoral officer has found no evidence that Elections Act offences were committed by any of the parties running in Whitehorse’s Mountainview riding this election.
Accusations were flying earlier in the campaign, with parties being accused of everything from driving intoxicated people to the polls, lying about the date of the election or misusing proxy ballot forms.
In a statement Saturday, chief electoral officer Lori McKee said concerns were raised that people associated with the Yukon Party campaign had told voters the wrong election day, provided voters with transportation if they would vote, and offered electors “consideration” for voting.
Under the Elections Act, it’s illegal to offer someone money, employment or other “valuable consideration” in exchange for their vote.
McKee said no one she interviewed said they were given the wrong date of the election.
Her statement makes no mention of whether any of the voters were intoxicated. Assistant chief electoral officer Dave Wilkie confirmed to the News there is no specific offence under the Yukon Elections Act for driving someone to the polls if they are intoxicated.
“Consideration was given to that in the inquiry, but it’s not a specific offence,” he said.
McKee said based on the information she was given, she doesn’t believe an offence has been committed
“Driving an elector to a polling place is commonly accepted within the community. In my opinion, in order to become an offence, there would have to be some additional form of inducement, such as providing cash or other reward for voting,” she said in a statement.
“Based on the information provided to Elections Yukon, I believe that no offence has been committed.”
Mountainview is the riding currently held by Yukon Party Leader Darrell Pasloski. When residents go to the polls on Monday, he’ll be facing off against Whitehorse lawyer Shaunagh Stikeman for the NDP and Kwanlin Dun First Nation justice director Jeanie Dendys for the Liberals.
Until now, no one would confirm which parties were being investigated by Elections Yukon and for what.
On Oct. 14, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation sent a letter to all candidates running in Mountainview
“We have been made aware that intoxicated people may have been taken to the polls and may not be in a position to cast their vote with a clear mind. This concerns KDFN Council and we request all parties refrain from this practice,” it said.
“Please do not tell KDFN citizens ‘it’s voting day’ when in actuality it is not. Please ensure citizens clearly understand what you are asking of them. If you are asking them to cast a special ballot, ensure they understand what that means.”
A week later McKee began her inquiry, which included interviews of people with first-hand information. McKee won’t say who specifically came to her with complaints.
Wilkie wouldn’t say if anyone Elections Yukon interviewed admitted to being intoxicated while voting.
“As long as they’re able to vote independently and follow the process then there’s nothing precluding them from voting,” he said.
The situation did raise some questions that were “outside the purview” of the inquiry, according to Wilkie. “The thought that came to our mind is, should an elector who happened to be intoxicated be deprived of his or her constitutional right to vote?”
He pointed out that identifying someone who is intoxicated can be subjective. If it were left up to election staff to decide “they could be taking away a constitutional right to vote,” he said.
“It’s something that’s outside the purview of the inquiry but it’s something to muse on, I guess. ”
Yukon Party campaign chair Currie Dixon commended Elections Yukon for its work.
“The Yukon Party is pleased, but not surprised, to be exonerated of any wrongdoing,” he said.
The Yukon Party was not the only campaign facing allegations in Mountainview.
During the campaign Dixon himself made veiled references to allegations of wrongdoing by the other candidates. He said his party had heard complaints about the other campaigns using “misdirection” around proxies and voting lists.
McKee’s statement confirmed concerns were raised with her office that proxy applications were being obtained by the Liberal Party in a way that was against the law.
The Liberal candidate in Whitehorse Centre is already being investigated by the RCMP over the way her campaign used proxy applications.
But McKee said the information she gathered in this case “did not indicate that the Yukon Liberal Party campaign in Mountainview had obtained proxy applications in a manner that is not in accordance with the Elections Act or at all.”
The NDP did not escape investigation.
McKee said she heard concerns that voters had not received special ballots requested ahead of the election. Applications were completed and ballots were supposed to be delivered by a member of the NDP campaign, the statement says.
“The person responsible for the delivery of the special ballots confirmed that all were delivered to electors by Nov. 3, 2016,” McKee said.
“Based on the information provided to Elections Yukon, I believe that an offence has not been committed.”
Dixon said he doesn’t regret raising concerns about the other political parties even though Elections Yukon did not find any fault.
“We provided information that was provided to us by voters and Elections Yukon investigated…. That’s the process.”
Neither of the other parties commented in time for today’s story.
Yukoners go to the polls Monday.
Contact Ashley Joannou at firstname.lastname@example.org
This story was updated with details from assistant chief electoral officer Dave Wilkie at 3:03 p.m. Nov. 6.