Vote cast for wrong candidate

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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A surprising phone call came to Ward 1 incumbent Charlene Miller this week, when a supporter said that Miller’s name wasn’t on the ballot of an advance poll. 

The City of Prince Albert Civic and School Boards Election 2012 Voter's Guide outlines almost everything residents need to know to cast their vote on Oct. 24. The information is also available on the city's official website, at www.citypa.ca . 

A surprising phone call came to Ward 1 incumbent Charlene Miller this week, when a supporter said that Miller’s name wasn’t on the ballot of an advance poll.

In place of Miller and opponent Jim Tsannie Sr.’s names were those of five other people the voter was unfamiliar with. Upon the insistence of the station’s supervisor, the resident voted anyway.

As it turns out, she’d cast a vote for Ward 2.

“It really matters to both of us,” Miller said, noting that this may not have been the only instance of a resident’s vote being cast in the incorrect ward.

“Now, Charlene or myself loses a vote,” Tsannie Sr. said in agreement with Miller’s assessment.

As of Monday, the city’s returning officer Cliff Skauge said that only one such instance has been reported and that it can be challenged in the courts after the election, should a candidate wish to do so.

Putting it into perspective, almost 740 people voted in this year’s five advance polls, which is up from previous years.

Miller believes that there was unintentional miscommunication at the advance polling station, with confusion between a resident living in the boundaries of polling station two, which makes up the eastern half of Ward 1, and Ward 2.

“I’m just absolutely frustrated,” Miller said.

With this experience has come some pieces of advice she’d like to share with the public in advance of the final Oct. 24 election date.

“Be adamant when you go there and do not mark an “x” if it is not your ballot,” she said, noting that although election officials are supposed to point people in the right direction, miscommunication can happen.  

Each ward is divided with between one and six polling stations, with every residence designated a certain station.

Tsannie Sr. said that he attended an advance poll at City Hall this month, where he was able to vote for the correct ward without incident, with an official providing him the correct voters’ cards in correspondence to his address.

Which polling station residents should use is clearly defined within the city’s Voter’s Guide, as well as online at www.citypa.ca.

During the 2009 election, Ward 1 saw three ballots rejected and two spoiled (issued to a person who declined to vote).

Miller took the 2009 election by nine votes, which she said exemplifies the notion that every vote counts. 

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