Monday, May 29, 2006

Like the buck the confusion stops here!

Tasi/Good Day Folks:

There has been much confusion over when the official cutoff date was for challenging a candidate's eligibility to run in the June 29, 2006 election - May 19 or 21, 2006? Here goes:

(1) The May 19, 2006 date is based on the Election By-Law provisions embedded in the MMF constitution. Specifically, Article 10 Section 1 states:

"Within seven (7) days of the close of nominations any elector may submit a written challenge to the right of a candidate to run for the office to which he/she has been nominated."

The "Notice of Election" published in the Winnipeg Free Press clearly stated candidate nominations closed May 12, 2006 which would calculate to a May 19, 2006 deadline for filing a challenge

(2) However, the Notice of Election's last paragraph is the source of the confusion. First it starts by talking about what to do if you have been omitted from the Preliminary List of Electors or wish to challenge someone you believe shouldn't be entitled to vote. Next it goes on to say any elector may only challenge a candidate for Vice President or Board Member in the Region where the challenger is entitled to vote. Finally, it concludes with:

"Written challenges will be accepted up to and including May 21, 2006 by 5:00 p.m."

By the time someone reading the Notice of Election reaches this point, does the May 21, 2006 date refer to the deadline for filing a challenge:

(i) If you've been left off the voters list and/or wish to oppose someone you believe to be ineligible to cast a ballot?


(ii) Would like to challenge a candidate for Vice President or Board Member in the Region where you are entitled to vote?

(3) The resulting confusion raises some interesting issues:

(i) How many Metis voters have read and possess an in-depth knowledge of the MMF constitution? In other words, would know the cutoff date for challenges of Vice-Presidential and Board Member candidates was May 19, 2006? More likely they would have relied on the ambiguously worded last paragraph of the Notice of Election which could easily have led them to incorrectly conclude it was May 21, 2006?

(ii) What does the constitution say about challenges of candidate(s) running for the Office of President?


In our view Dave Charette was honest and completely reasonable to conclude the cutoff date was May 21, 2006 especially given the confusing wording of deadlines as contained in the Notice of Election. Further, since the documentation provided in support of his challenge appears to have significant merit and is compelling, the Chief Electoral Officer should immediately reverse his earlier decision by ordering an investigation of the complaint.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess here we go to court for another 3 years once again, no matter who wins this elections

9:11 PM  

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