More than 1,400 ballots issued for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) directors’ elections in odd-numbered districts this fall have been voided and new ones mailed out.
A computer glitch had some farmers voting in the wrong district, CWB election co-ordinator Ian Craven of Meyers Norris Penny explained in an interview Nov. 5.
“It was very random across the sample and that’s what made it obvious,” he said.
For example, some Manitoba farmers in District 9, had ballots to vote in District 1 which is in northern Alberta.
“The way the system works we were able to immediately void those ballots and then we reissued them for the correct districts,” Craven said.
“We’ve been able to make phone contact with the vast majority of those affected. They’ll get an explanation letter as to why they’re getting another voter package. The envelope on the outside is clearly marked that this is new information so they don’t confuse it with the old one.”
Errant ballots already mailed back will be voided and set aside for election scrutineers to process during vote counting, Craven said.
“We always wish these things would go 100 per cent,” he said. “It does create confusion and we apologize for that and we’re trying to do everything we can to get it corrected.”
Steps will also be taken to prevent the problem from reoccurring, Craven said.
Of the 28,400 ballots mailed out 1,446 or five per cent of them had farmers voting in the wrong district.
Meanwhile, farmers who believe they are entitled to vote but haven’t received a ballot have until Nov. 19 to apply for one.
Every “actual producer” in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 is entitled to a ballot if they produced wheat, oats, barley, rye, flaxseed, rapeseed or canola in 2008, 2009 or 2010.
In addition, anyone entitled to a share of the grain grown by an actual producer also qualifies.
Farmers need to submit an Application to Vote obtained from the election co-ordinator ( www.cwbelection.com or call 1-877-780-8683). To prove their eligibility the applicant must also include one of the following:
A crop insurance contract number.
A grain delivery receipt or cash purchase ticket from a licensed elevator or grain dealer.
A statutory declaration. Ballots must be postmarked
on or before Dec. 3, 2010. [email protected]
affected.They’llgetan explanationletteras towhythey’regetting anothervoterpackage.”
– ian craven