Voter complaints not being heard until after Oct. 24 election

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October 3, 2012 - 3:28pm
Poll station. Karin Yeske/News Talk Radio
Poll station. Karin Yeske/News Talk Radio

Voters looking to file a complaint about candidates during this fall’s election may be surprised to hear their complaints won’t be addressed until after Oct. 24.

“There are sanctions that could be given after the election and they include penalties such as not being appointed to a committee or having access to city hall except for meeting, or have pay and other benefits reduced,” said Janice Mann from the city clerk’s office. Mann is in charge of sending complaints along to candidates, but whether or not an investigator needs to be brought in, is up to council.

This week, Ashu Solo filed a complaint against Don Atchison for using the word "mayor" too freely in his election campaign, which is in violation of the city’s code of conduct.

Mann said there are offences that could lead to a mayor or a councillor losing their job, adding this violation is not a major offence.

After hearing that nothing would be done until after the election, Solo said at least various media outlets have been informing others of his complaint.

“The complaint should be dealt with sooner, but I can’t criticize their actions, because they haven’t done anything about it yet,” said Solo.

Jim Farney, professor of political science at the University of Regina said the post-election sanctions keep candidates and their managers honest.

“It takes away the desire to impose (sanctions) as a campaign tactic,” said Farney. “If I’m a campaign manager and I know one of the things I can do is have a candidate held up in front of a judge, I’m going to go out of my way to make that happen. If it’s retro-active, then yes it leaves it up to the voters.”

Farney added it’s up to the media to inform the public about what’s going on and let voters decide whether or not the candidate should be elected or not.

“Does this mean this person is untrustworthy? It’s something left to the discretion of voters and the committee that will meet after the election.”

fbiber@rawlco.com

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