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

Cpl. El Sturko

SURREY RCMP are now in the wrapping-up stage of their investigation into the allegations of election fraud that were made last September during the civic election campaign.

“We are just finishing the report to Crown and will be submitting it within a month,” Cpl. Elenore Sturko said on Monday.

The RCMP will present what evidence they have gathered and submit it to the Crown that will review the report to determine whether any charges will be laid and whether there is any likelihood of conviction.

Sturko noted that right from the start the RCMP had said that there would be no timeline because they would be doing a thorough investigation. It would depend on the complexity of the case and how much information there would be to go through.

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.

Surrey RCMP announced in October that their investigation into the allegations of fraud in the applications to vote by mail had 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 had at the time identified and interviewed two persons of interest in this investigation. However, they said that further investigation would be required to determine if criminal charges or charges under the Local Government Act were warranted.

Till then, 69 out of 73 people whose personal information was used to complete the application to vote by mail had been interviewed.

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.

On October 3, the Surrey RCMP had set up a dedicated phone line for this investigation.

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

Surrey RCMP asked anyone who believed they had 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.