The third-place mayoral candidate in the Oct. 20 Chase civic election has petitioned the court to declare results of the election invalid.
In a notice of civil claim filed with the B.C. Supreme Court registry in Kamloops on Nov. 21, Beverley Ann Fernande Iglesias claims there are irregularities with the addresses of 12 people who voted in the Chase mayoral election and that hosting elections for Thompson-Nicola Regional District director, Kamloops-Thompson school district trustee and Chase municipal government at the same location caused confusion for voters.
Iglesias is petitioning the court to declare the election invalid and force another election for Chase’s mayor and council.
The notice of claim names the Village of Chase and Sean O’Flaherty, a village employee who acted as chief election officer, as defendants.
Twelve voters who cast a ballot deciding Chase’s mayor and council are named in the notice of claim as being ineligible to cast a ballot.
The validity of the 12 ballots mentioned in the document are especially important as the mayoral race was decided by only 11 votes.
Rod Crowe was elected mayor with 256 votes, 11 more than David Lepsoe, who garnered 245 votes. Iglesias was third (200 votes), followed by Harry Danyluk (196 votes) and incumbent Rick Berrigan (193 votes).
The document filed with the court states seven people who voted did so after registering with addresses outside village boundaries. According to the notice of claim, a further four voters listed their addresses as businesses or commercial buildings.
“At least four individuals who voted in the municipal election were ineligible, as their residential addresses declared were Chase businesses or commercial/industrial buildings. Applications by the landowner to the Village of Chase for residential suites were not apparent,” the document reads.
The document also states one voter’s residential address could not be substantiated.
Along with the alleged ineligible votes, Iglesias’ court filing also claims that campaign signs in favour of Crowe were placed on a residential property on Adams Lake Indian Band land and also beside the roadway over the bridge leading from Chase to the Adams Lake Indian Band reserve.
“Such ‘Vote for Mayor’ sign(s) could have misled reserve residents to believe they were eligible to vote in the Village of Chase municipal election,” the document reads.
According to the notice of claim, a petition in support of Iglesias’ application to the court is being circulated in Chase.
Iglesias did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
O’Flaherty said the village has not been served court documents yet and so has not begun trying to verify or disprove the claims made in the document.
He added that the election was conducted in good faith and within the confines of the Local Government Act.
O’Flaherty stressed that voters sign a declaration stating they reside in the Village of Chase amongst other qualifications and that the onus is on them to know whether or not they are eligible to vote.