Surrey RCMP say 67 applications to vote by mail in municipal election were fraudulent

Cpl. Elenore Sturko

SURREY RCMP announced on Friday that their investigation into allegations of fraud in the applications to vote by mail in the civic election has revealed that 67 of these applications were fraudulent in that they were not completed or signed by the voter listed on the application.

Two of these applications requested ballots be sent to addresses that were not associated to the named applicant. The other 65 applications listed the applicant’s correct address for delivery of the voting ballot.

Investigators have identified and interviewed two persons of interest in this investigation; however, further investigation will be required to determine if criminal charges or charges under the Local Government Act are warranted.

To date, 69 out of 73 people whose personal information was used to complete the application to vote by mail have been interviewed.

Cpl. Elenore Sturko said: “It should be noted that no ballots were sent out to any individuals or residences based on the fraudulent applications. The process to apply for a mail ballot was amended by the Chief Elections Officer on October 1 to preserve the integrity of the election.”

She added: “To date, the investigation team has not found any evidence to link any candidate or party to the fraudulent applications.”

On October 3, the Surrey RCMP set up a dedicated phone line for this investigation. To date, a total of six calls have been received on the tip line with two of those calls requiring follow-up by investigators which has been completed.

At this time, the investigation has not revealed any indication that people were induced or intimidated in any manner to provide their personal information or to vote for a specific candidate.

Concurrent to the investigation of the vote by mail applications, Surrey RCMP was made aware of third hand information regarding international students providing personal detail in exchange for money. Thus far, investigators have not located any evidence to substantiate these claims nor have any victims come forward to police.

Surrey RCMP pointed out that it is important for the public to recognize that measures were taken by Chief Elections Officer to amend the application process to preserve the integrity of the election process. It is also important to recognize that no ballots were delivered to voters as a result of the fraudulent applications.

While the police do not routinely release details of ongoing investigations, this update is being provided to reassure the public and allow for transparency in the election process, Surrey RCMP added.

Surrey RCMP are asking anyone who believes they have been or may have been induced or intimidated for votes or personal information for voting purposes to report it directly to the police through their dedicated phone line for this investigation at 604-599-7848.