Yukon Party plays fast and loose with voting rules

Yukon Party candidates faced a free-for-all in contested ridings this election. And this made for a mess in Kluane, according to Elaine Hanson.

Yukon Party candidates faced a free-for-all in contested ridings this election.

And this made for a mess in Kluane, according to Elaine Hanson.

The wife of defeated Yukon Party candidate Mike Crawshay sent an email to his supporters this week.

“As residents and recent party members, you deserve to know what transpired during and since the last nomination vote,” she wrote. “This may help to inform your decision for the territorial election.

“Since the nomination vote, we have found evidence of unethical use of proxies, including forged proxies and coercion of vulnerable individuals,” wrote Hanson.

Her husband Crawshay lost to Wade Istchenko by just five votes, out of 425.

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The Yukon Party held a recount.

But Crawshay still has concerns about the Yukon Party’s election procedures.

“The recount was done accurately,” he said.

That’s not the problem.

The real issue is that each riding can pick and choose its own voting procedures, said Crawshay.

“And they can run it the way they want.”

Instead, the Yukon Party “should have the same voting procedures across the territory,” he said.

This is an issue, said territorial Yukon Party campaign manager Darren Parsons.

“There is no standardized process to elect candidates,” he said.

It’s something the Yukon Party plans to change before the next election, added Parsons.

But this time around, it was a free-for-all.

Had there been a standardized voting process, the results may have been quite different, said Crawshay.

As it was, potential voters in Beaver Creek would have had to drive more than 300 kilometres just to vote for one of the two Yukon Party candidates.

Or they could have voted by proxy, which involves the candidates driving to Beaver Creek twice, once to sell memberships and again to sign up proxy voters, said Crawshay.

To eliminate this issue, other Yukon ridings where the Yukon Party candidacy was contested opted to have multiple voting locations, said Parsons.

“Because in some of these ridings, it takes eight hours to drive across it,” he said, mentioning the Klondike.

Mayo, Pelly and Carmacks, all part of the Mayo-Tatchun riding, dealt with the distance issue by holding the election on three different days, once in each community, added Parsons.

But for some reason, Kluane, also a huge riding, only held voting in one location – Haines Junction – on one day.

We could have at least had phone-in ballots, said Crawshay.

“That’s how the Yukon Party chose its leader, Pasloski, earlier this year,” he said.

“And it worked really well.”

The Yukon Party candidacy for the Laberge riding was also contested and that riding did phone-in ballots, said Parsons.

“And they did advance polling too.”

Riding associations shouldn’t be able to pick and choose their voting process, said Crawshay.

While he is not willing to make the claims his wife is, that there was coercion and forgery involved in election of Kluane’s Yukon Party candidate, Crawshay does admit proxy votes can be miscast.

“But we can’t prove any of these irregularities,” he said.

A standardized process would be simpler, agreed Parsons.

“If it was the same everywhere, it would be easier to co-ordinate.”

Still, Parsons denies that there was possible vote tampering in the Kluane riding.

“That’s without foundation,” he said.

“It’s just a normal response we’re seeing from (Crawshay’s) wife reflecting her disappointment at the results.”

Hanson didn’t return calls by press time.

But her email ends: “I personally cannot support anyone who corrupts the democratic process, and I ask you to consider a better choice.”

Liberal candidate Tim Cant, NDP candidate Eric Stinson and First Nations Party candidate Gerald Dickson Sr. are running against Istchenko in Kluane.

Contact Genesee Keevil at