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Voter fraud allegations being investigated in Essex
Allegations of election fraud are being investigated in Essex.
Newly re-elected councillor Sherry Bondy tells AM800 News she has received several complaints of proxy ballots being signed without proper consent.
Essex County OPP are looking into it, after Bondy contacted police Thursday morning.
Proxy voting is where a ballot is cast by one person on behalf of another person with permission.
Bondy says it began in advance polls on Oct. 13 and continued on election day.
Bondy believes some proxy ballots had forged signatures.
Essex CAO Donna Hunter provided a statement to AM800:
“At this time we can only confirm that the Town has received two official complaints of proxies being signed without the consent of the electors,” said Hunter in the statement. “These complaints have been forwarded to the OPP for investigation.”
Mayoral candidate Robbie Shepley does not believe voter fraud took place.
In a statement to CTV News, Shepley says “I do not believe any candidate who ran in the Town of Essex for municipal office (Mayor) had anything to do with forgery, stealing votes of any kind. I have the utmost faith in our town staff that the election was run in accordance of election rules and regulations. It is my understanding the OPP are investigating hopefully they can resolve this quickly. It is my hope and belief they will find no wrong doing and hopefully we can move forward.”
Town of Essex spokesperson Alex Denonville tells CTV Windsor when complaints first came to town hall, they passed them along to the OPP.
“We're not able to investigate our own elections,” says Denonville.
Denonville adds an elector can agree to be a proxy for an unlimited number of family members, but they can only agree to be a proxy for one person whom they are not related to.
“We just don’t have the capacity to look into each proxy, we have to rely on the information they provided, they're signing a legal declaration,” says Denonville. “If the implication is that, it’s a fraudulent signature, that’s what the OPP investigation is for.”
Denonville encourages any residents who might have concerns or complaints about proxy voting or the election itself to contact police.