Workers dismissed after missing ballot boxes found
Published Monday, October 13, 2008 6:11PM EDT
QUEBEC - Three deputy returning officers involved in a ballot-box controversy have been dismissed after Elections Canada recovered three boxes that had gone missing in a Quebec City riding.
The seals on some of the boxes were peeling off, but envelopes containing the actual ballots showed no signs of tampering, said Elections Canada spokesman Gilles Paquin.
"What is important is the contents," he said.
"All the parties have accepted the ballots because the seals were not broken on the envelopes."
The real test will come on election night, Paquin said, noting the parties may still contest the votes if the race was tight.
Following reports that seals on some boxes had been damaged, Elections Canada recalled Saturday ballot boxes that had been stored in the homes of deputy returning officers after advanced polling.
The three boxes that were not returned Saturday were brought back to the returning officer in the riding of Quebec by a deputy returning officer on Sunday.
Three deputy returning officers -- a mother and her two daughters -- were dismissed by the chief electoral officer, Paquin said.
The law that allows deputy returning officers to bring ballot boxes home is also under review.
Paquin said the law has been on the books for over 25 years and is necessary for some of the rural ridings.
"Look at your map and look at the size of the ridings. One goes from Val D'or to James Bay," he said.
"The riding officer is sometimes 200 to 300 kilometres from the polling station. If you ask somebody to work for $250 and to bring the box back and forth, it's obvious it's not practical at all."