Conservative members frustrated by voting difficulties
Published Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:56PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 28, 2017 8:24AM EDT
Unclear directions, traffic jams and a bustling anime convention next door made it challenging for several Conservative members to cast votes in the leadership race on Saturday, with one member becoming so frustrated that he tossed his ballot at the party’s president.
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Some voters say the unforeseen difficulties prevented them from casting ballots before the 4 p.m. ET cut-off time.
One Conservative member travelled all the way from Fort McMurray, Alta. with his wife to attend the Toronto conference. He said the candidates’ speeches on Friday night changed his mind, and he planned to vote for his new choice Saturday.
But unexpected traffic delays of up to one hour outside the Toronto Congress Centre, which was also hosting a massive anime convention, meant that he didn’t get to the ballot box in time.
When the Fort McMurray member’s vote was turned away, he tossed his ballot at Scott Lamb, president of the Conservative Party.
“They should’ve allowed us in. They should’ve accepted our votes,” the member told CTV News. “It’s terribly frustrating.”
The member added that he’s volunteered in past federal elections and saw how small hiccups, such as a missing volunteer, could prompt officials to extend voting times.
“Apparently the (Conservative) membership doesn’t have the same rights,” he said.
A new member of the party, who gave his name as Syiam, ran into a similar issue. He arrived at the voting hall at 4 p.m., just as the doors were closing. Approximately 20 other members were left outside the doors.
“We asked the executive director if he could speak to the CRO to see if any consideration can be made, considering there’s 6,000 people in the hall beside us and there’s unfortunately no directions to point us to here,” Syiam said. (Actual attendance at the neighbouring Anime North expo was estimated at somewhere between 20,000-35,000.)
Syiam blamed poor communications for not giving members clear instructions as to where to vote.
“No communication was provided which building it’s located in plus what hall it’s in,” Syiam said. “Things can be done better.”
The first results from the leadership race are expected Saturday evening, starting around 5:45 ET.