This leadership race, more than any other, perplexes me. I’m still confused how the overwhelming majority of MLAs backed one candidate as the heir apparent in this leadership race. What did everybody else know that I didn’t?
Of course it boils down to one thing. He is the guy that “the party” wants. And it seems the regular voting Albertan is NOT ‘the party”. So, if our elected officials were told who to support and they in turn tell their constituent members which way to vote, it calls into question the fundamental basis of democracy. If that was the tactic, then be up front, most Albertans are able to handle the truth.
Rumors abound of dirty tactics, backroom deals and free memberships doled out by a candidate rather than purchased by engaged voters. MLA Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Service Alberta & Prentice Campaign co-chair, admitted in the Edmonton Journal on August 29 “There’s a lot of mudslinging, and a lot of rumours, and a lot of behind-the-scenes deal-making that’s going on between people right now, because it’s a leadership race.” What kind of deal making? It’s got to be good if all but six MLAs back one candidate.
This is the first time I’ve thought that we are going to experience some real election fraud or vote rigging in Alberta. A voting system that some party insiders have admitted was never tested before the digital polls opened this morning. Was that intentional or not?
Hundreds upon hundreds of eligible voters are still without their pin numbers. A 1-800 help phone line that rings perpetually busy. Or, if you are one of the lucky ones, it will ring, pick up eventually and you will be told the mailbox is full. Long time party members have had to phone and beg for PIN numbers because one wasn’t sent unless you asked for it. The instructions online are confusing and not clear. The bottom line is an election process where due diligence and transparency doesn’t seem to exist.
But there’s another hoop you have to jump through too. The PC Alberta website tells you that you must be registered with Elections Alberta to be considered an eligible voter. Many people claimed that PC Alberta informed them they were ineligible to vote. Katherine Smith @kikkiplanet tweeted earlier today that one campaign informed her that 45% of their members were rendered ineligible to vote and disqualified.
I wanted to make sure I was eligible. Friends told me they found out they were not registered even though they had lived at their homes for several years. I looked up the elections Alberta website and decided to register myself. I was required to input a barely readable number found on the bottom of my driver’s license. My mom is 90 years old and has never missed a vote in all the years she’s lived in Alberta. She doesn’t drive so she wasn’t able to fill anything out online. I called Elections Alberta and was told “If anyone has ever voted before in a provincial election, their name would be registered with Elections Alberta.” Based on this, how could 45% of one campaign’s member base be rendered ineligible?
At least at a live election people have to come in and vote in person. Their credentials are checked, they are physically handed a ballot, they walk into the voting booth and they cast their vote. During the ballot count volunteers from each campaign observe the count to make sure ballots are counted correctly.Everybody has an idea of how the campaign is going in their polling stations.
In this instance the votes disappear into a dark abyss and we will never know who got to vote and who didn’t. We won’t know if members of one campaign were favoured over another and we won’t know if this election was fair. I hesitate to think of any Putin-esque tactics at play in this province of ours.