Those involved in last year’s civic election fraud in Surrey could be charged soon

Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald
Photo by Jay Sharma of Mahi Photo Studio

SURREY RCMP announced on Friday that a thorough investigation into concerns of possible wrongdoing in Surrey’s mail ballot registration process for the 2018 civic election had been completed by their Major Crime Section and a report to Crown counsel had been forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service for charge assessment.

This investigation was initiated in September 2018 after irregularities were noted in the mail ballot registration process for the civic election by Surrey’s Chief Elections Officer. Sixty-seven applications were determined to be 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.

No ballots were sent out to any individual 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, Surrey RCMP said.

As the investigation progressed, an additional complaint came forward alleging that an elections employee at a polling station attempted to influence a voter. Officials overseeing the civic election quickly removed the employee from their appointed position in order to ensure there was a fair and transparent election process.

Surrey RCMP said that officials from Surrey’s Elections Office were routinely updated during this investigation and they acted to ensure that the integrity of the 2018 election was maintained. The results of the investigation were shared with the Chief Elections Officer to ensure strategies are put in place to protect further elections.

“Allegations such as these are rare, but important to investigate to ensure the integrity of our democratic process,” said Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald. “We thank the public for their patience while we completed this investigation.”

The vote fraud allegations were made by the Wake Up Surrey group.

Punjabi journalist and Wake Up Surrey organizer Gurpreet (Lucky) Singh Sahota had claimed that several people had complained that they are being pressured by their boss or some relative to participate in the fraud scheme. He estimated that as many as 15,000 votes could have been cast by mail in this fraud scheme that involved misuse of absentee ballots.

Election BC had said that it was not involved in local elections and suggested Wake Up Surrey should take it up with Surrey’s chief electoral officer.