(WINDSOR, ON) – The people who lodged a complaint with the Windsor Police, regarding alleged election irregularities and Municipal Elections Act violations, didn’t know what they would find when they embarked upon their four-month, and counting, investigation. They provided so much evidence to the police that a Superior Court justice approved an application by the officers to seize all election materials from the City of Windsor.
The turnover of all the documents, including the ballots and boxes, occurred on February 26, just before the City’s deadline to commence with the destruction of the items.
In addition to Windsor’s failure to pass a by-law authorizing the use of the vote tabulators, the complainants also discovered issues pertaining to the various voters lists.
The investigative team found themselves with a copy of the Windsor-West voters list from the provincial election, held in June of 2014, just four months before going to the municipal polls.
As mandated, after the provincial vote Elections Ontario provided a finalized list of electors to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. MPAC made the corrections they needed to and then distributed a Preliminary List of Electors to the municipalities by July 31, in advance of the lower level elections.
The process of shared information resulted in what Mississauga described as, “The best voters list ever.”
Generally speaking, the list from MPAC and the one provided by the City to candidates, on August 14, should not differ by more than 5%. There would need to be adjustments for deaths, persons attaining the voting age, personal eligibility, and variances due to transiency.
“What is interesting to note was the municipal list, which should have had more electors, had a significantly lower number even with over 3,300 added for out-of-province and out-of-city electors.
The city list should have grown but, instead, it contracted to 147,737.
The provincial list was reported to have 154,000 voters within the City of Windsor. Windsor’s list also included well over 1,500 post-secondary students.”
When analysing the two lists there was over a 50% discrepancy of voters between them.
The investigative team indicated that one of the few adjustments made by the City, to the MPAC-provided list, is the removal of the deceased. Windsor maintains the Death Registry for those resident within the city. Having the most up to date information, it is left to the municipality to remove anyone who had died since the last time the information was transferred. In 2014, it would have included anyone dying between May and September.
The investigative team found many instances of where the dead were added to the voters list, most of them having died up to a decade ago. These people were not on the Provincial Voters List. They were sent Voter Notification Cards (VNC), by the City, to their last known address. The team has a number of the physical cards in their possession.
Also receiving VNCs were post-secondary students living in residence at both the University of Windsor and at St Clair College.
There is a question of why transient students were sent VNCs at their temporary residences instead of their permanent homes. But, more importantly, more questions arise from the fact that a large number of these students had graduated from the institutions in years prior to 2014, and did not live in Windsor at the time of the election.
Who supplied the City with this population data? It should also be noted that these students did not appear on the Provincial voters list.
More discrepancies found by the investigative team include a VNC sent to a 14 year-old girl, residents of a City-owned residence were sent VNCs despite the fact that the City closed the facility down in 2011, persons received multiple VNCs from the City, sent to different addresses, and the finding of a married couple appearing seven different times on the City’s VNC mailing list.
And there is more.
- Many registered voters who have not resided in Windsor for over a decade, but who received a municipal VNC while not receiving a provincial VNC.
- Persons appearing up to six times at the same out-of-town address receiving VNC’s.
- Multiple occurrences of persons with differing surnames, living at the same out-of-town address, and apparently sharing ownership of the same Windsor property, all being sent VNCs.
- Many registered voters, who have lived in the City for years, and who regularly vote, did not receive a VNC.
- Voters residing for years in City-owned and operated buildings, but had to request to have their names added to the voters list.
There was even a serious discrepancy with the City’s own reported election results.
On election night, the unofficial results were reported shortly before 11:00 pm. But by the time the official results were posted, by the City, in wards 1, 2, and 3 the unofficial turnout of 60%, 41.08%, and 40.87%, respectively, suddenly became 47.5%, 28.07%, and 28.53%, respectively, as the eligible voters swelled by the thousands within just a few hours.
There needs to be an explanation for why the voters list provided to candidates contained so many errors when most of the work cleaning it had already been done by the province. But, the so-called cooperative and transparent City of Windsor is not saying.