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Block access to Calgary voter lists for candidates: Farrell, Gondek

There’s fear over how a Calgary mayoral candidate may use Calgary voter lists given a history of threats to make public names and addresses of Calgary health workers.

Now there’s a call to prevent that election list from being made available to candidates.

In a CBC Calgary story by Meghan Grant published Monday, it was revealed that a mayoral candidate accused of racism and threats against public health workers would be able to access a list of electors due to his candidacy.

The issue was raised in Calgary’s combined meeting of council Monday, during debate on upping the fines for the city’s face mask bylaw.

Coun. Druh Farrell asked administration about action that could be taken against to prevent this from happening.

“I know that our police service was concerned about voters list going out.  He’s doxxing people, and so do we have an opinion on that? Can we prevent the electoral list from being distributed to this person specifically or maybe we need to extend that to all candidates for this particular election,” she said.

Earlier in the day, in response to the CBC story, mayoral candidate Jyoti Gondek also issued a statement on the matter.

She’s asking that Elections Calgary not disclose lists to any candidates this upcoming election.

“We are faced with a dangerous prospect in this municipal election,” said Gondek.

“A candidate who has threatened violence against AHS will be given a voter list with Calgarians’ home addresses and phone numbers. We must band together and ask Elections Calgary NOT to release voter lists to anyone.”

City position by day’s end?

Gondek said there’s no power in the province’s Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) to withhold the information. It might have to come direct from the province’s Municipal Affairs minister.

Under the rules, candidates are allowed to access City of Calgary voter lists once their candidacy is confirmed on nomination day.

“We cannot open the door to violence and must suspend the release of voter lists,” said Gondek.

“It will make our elections harder, but it will protect Calgarians. That should be our first job as candidates and elected officials.”

Coun. Farrell hope the city had an official opinion on the matter by day’s end.

“The public is very worried about this. And I don’t blame them,” she said.

Council must direct electors list

According to a media statement released late Monday, Elections Calgary said it hasn’t yet been directed to create a voters list.

“The Returning Officer will be seeking Council’s direction on preparing a list of electors in July when amendments to the Election Bylaw (35M2018) will be brought forward,” the statement read.

If council requests the list, it would be prepared for candidates who request it following the last day to withdraw nominations.

Elections Calgary also said that the list of electors can only be used for campaign purposes, with a penalty of up to $100,000 and up to a year, or both.