(WINDSOR, ON) – Windsor’s Chief of Police, Al Frederick, sent a message to investigators looking into complaints regarding the 2014 municipal election.
“Nothing of concern so far, there’s been no criminality of any kind,” Frederick was quoted in the local paper. “The procedures, the policies were probably adhered to very well by city hall staff. But again, I don’t want to make final conclusions until we see all the results.”
The idea that there is nothing of concern is far-fetched considering a Superior Court justice allowed the police to seize all election materials, that were scheduled to be destroyed by the City of Windsor. But to offer the premise that, “policies were probably adhered to very well” is not based in fact and is simply supposition on Frederick’s part.
Two of the complainants met with police investigators for a 4-hour meeting on Wednesday. New evidence was brought to the officers’ attention and it was decided to continue to delve into the alleged election irregularities. When informed of the Chief’s statements to the media on Thursday, it was news to police.
To say, however, that the procedures were probably followed is obviously incorrect. To suggest that, “there’s been no criminality of any kind” is optimistic, at best, considering the less than thorough investigation.
“When we asked whether they looked in the ballot boxes we were told no,” one complainant told The Square. “When we asked whether they compared the Voter List to the actual MPAC list, they said no. When we asked if they had contacted Canada Post to review the original receipts, they again said that they did not. When we asked whether they examined the programs installed on the electronic voting tabulators, the police revealed that they hadn’t and that they wouldn’t bring in an expert.”
Police hadn’t even looked at the over-balloting in each ward, according to the complainant.
There are ten items that the police will be looking into over the next little while. They include obtaining the original MPAC-created Preliminary List of Electors and securing a copy of the Canada Post credit memo to the City.
As well, police will be looking into numerous deceased who were added to the Voters List by the City of Windsor, especially when they were not on the provincial voters list in 2014 nor 2010.
Also to be scrutinized is the contradictory figures presented by the City concerning the Voter Notification Cards.
City lawyer Susan Hirota stated that Windsor had mailed 147.737 VNCs had been printed. However, the City’s Manager of Elections, Chuck Scarpelli, said in a legal document that he had over printed and mailed, by Canada Post, 150,000 VNCs. Other than the City not being able to get their stories straight, this also contradicts the Canada Post receipts, provided by Scarpelli, as well as an audio recording of Canada Post staff.
Then there is the issue of how many EL-15s were created for the thousands of residents who were added to the voters list. Police investigators said that 4,500 people walked in on election day; a number Scarpelli couldn’t provide earlier. That would mean over 4,000 people went to the Clerk’s Office over the course of 15 business days to be registered to vote; or, 267 people per day.
Now there is a story out of City Hall that voters used MPAC’s VoterLookUp.ca to register themselves. However, the website created by MPAC only allowed electors to see if they were already on the voters list, not to actually register themselves.
Considering the un-factual information coming from City Hall, and all the remaining issues that have to be investigated, Chief Frederick misspoke and possibly tainted the investigation by leading the public to believe that there is nothing of concern.
The complainants investigated the alleged election irregularities over four months, and counting. It hardly seems reasonable that all the evidence could be filtered and properly analysed in just a month.
Chief Frederick is right, however, when he says we need to see the final results before coming to a conclusion. However, those results should be provided by turning the investigation over to the Ontario Provincial Police.
Chief Frederick could not be reached prior to publication.