SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS
TO 80 VOTES?
Jones wants to know where they went, Mumford wants to know how it happened
SD33 School Board election candidate Kaethe Jones (r) lost to Jared Mumford by 34 votes.
hat were very combative elections has taken a tumultuous turn with information now surfacing about a power outage at both Promontory School and Chilliwack Middle stations that left two voting machines down for a short period of time on election night October 20. Apparently duct tape was used to hold one of the machines together.
Successful SD33 candidate Barry Neufeld told The Voice in an e-mail Friday that during the outages at Promontory School and Chilliwack Middle School ballots were counted manually at the affected locations.
Nowhere else in these elections was the race so close that the difference between winning and losing was just 34 votes.
When outgoing Mayor Sharon Gaetz attempted to be elected to the school board prior to her stint at city hall, she lost by a mere 12 votes and that some people were actually caught voting twice and charged with a criminal offense.
Mumford finished 7th taking the final seat with 7,125, and for reasons unknown was stripped of 80 votes leaving him with a total of 7,045 and enough to squeak past candidate Kaethe Jones who had 7,011 votes.
The Assistant to the Chief Elections Officer Carol Friesen, assured Neufeld Thursday that each machine had a USB stick inserted and that no data was lost.
Neufeld says the assistant Elections Officer admitted there was no way of determining if a dishonest voter may have cast ballots at more than one voting station.
If someone is caught voting twice then they would be subject to a criminal offense. Also, there is no control over whether "dead" people have voted because someone could use the deceased's identification.
Of the 50,000 eligible voters in Chilliwack, there could be 0.5% or 250 transgender people. The election saw a record turnout (over 25,000 voters) and Neufeld suggests that pro-Sogi transgender persons may have voted twice.
Neufeld describes transgender people as "very passionate" about SOGI and suggests supporters could easily vote with two different sets of ID which could very well skew a close election such as this.
"Transgender people often have two sets of identification: one for the sex they were assigned at birth, and another new set when they legally changed their name and gender," added Neufeld.
Abbotsford Anti-SOGI transgender man Jenn Smith says the numbers perhaps don't fit the narrative.
"I am not sure the ID stats are correct, also many trans like me never change their name legally. I am not sure what the percentage is," said Smith. "Only 11% of trans according to one major study changed their ID in any way. Almost 70% reported no id change at all. I hate electronic machines, tailor-made for fraud and that a hand count is needed."
Smith says that even when someone decides to "de-trans" then it's a long and arduous road.
"Getting your name changed today is a nightmare. It's easier just to use the name you choose and leave your ID as it is."
At one meeting Smith with Sue Takata, with Voice of the Voiceless, who deals with "de-trans" people. "There was some chatter from Sue about why I never changed my name legally, and she chimed in and said " I DON'T think, getting it changed back can be a nightmare."
According to Smith, Glen Hansman, president of the BC Teacher's Association, told him there won't be anymore dialog and refused the offer to discuss the issue.
"The debate is over," said Hansman.
Sources have said that Jones plans to file for an audit, but the decision for a recount rests solely on the judge in charge of any judicial audit.
"I talked directly with many voters in Chilliwack because, as you know, I am a very visible figure in this debate, and all said they were voting for all the anti-SOGI candidates."
Smith plans on giving a presentation as part of a delegation at a school board meeting in the future.
Jones told The Voice in an e-mail this afternoon she wants to get to the root of the issue.
"What did they discover that closed the gap by about 80 votes?" asks Jones who finished only 34 votes behind Mumford. "What else is there that is not obvious? I want to win or lose fairly and squarely so I think a recount and an audit might be called for."
Mumford confirmed Thursday that he knew of the amendment.
"I did see the vote change this morning, and I have not been notified as to the reason for the change," he said.
When asked about the inconsistencies in the vote counts, he indicated he's in the dark as much as anyone else.
"My assumption is that the elections officer would not publish new results without verifying and auditing those changes first. In that sense I assume a recount has already taken place, said Mumford. "I think that's the question on everybody's mind. Why the change? I have not been officially notified of the change or why the change happened.
"In the preliminary results of the election late Saturday evening I was elected, along with my colleague Heather Maahs and Darrell Furgasson. We are all objecting to SOGI 1-2-3," explained Neufeld in an e-mail Friday. "But alas, four Candidates who are enthusiastically FOR SOGI 1-2-3 got elected: They are in the majority and we are in the minority."
But the three could be hamstrung with rumblings that the current board could block access to the school's voting machines.
Neufeld says that Part 13 of the Local Government Act indicates a recount application can only be accepted if it were filed during an abbreviated window from October 24th to the 29th and then a judicial review would have to happen by November 2.
Doing an audit would require a very labor-intensive audit where the City would be required to re-enter all the data on the manual forms into a computer spreadsheet and then a search for duplicates.
So far the "F" word hasn't been tossed around and so far there's been no indication of fraud or inconsistencies with the voting data.
Donald Costin, Watson Elementary School station scrutineer, said that some people "aren't happy with the performance of the voting machines (Sardis) and needs an audit and recount."
"For the first time in my eight elections, I used the services of volunteer scrutineers," explained Neufeld and that there were some significant concerns. "I have asked all of them for written reports."