POLITICS

Voter Fraud Concerns In East Toronto Widespread

03/14/2012 10:46 EDT | Updated 05/14/2012 05:12 EDT
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Allegations of widespread voting irregularities in an east Toronto federal riding are similar to complaints from a neighbouring riding and a municipal byelection held nearby, two people closely involved say.

"This should have come out a long time ago," Muttukumaru Chandrakumaran, who ran in a municipal byelection in Ajax, Ont., said Wednesday.

Chandrakumaran was responding to a CBC News investigation on Tuesday that uncovered allegations of electoral fraud concentrated in the Tamil community in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River. Those allegations, which span both the federal and provincial ridings, centre largely on what appears to be a lack of oversight surrounding election-day additions to the official voters list.

Chandrakumaran said he remembers groups of people from his Tamil community who were not on the voters list showing up at polling stations during the 2008 vote and claiming to live at the same address.

"Up to 26 people were voting from one house," he said.

'Elections Canada, it's like talking to a wall'

Chandrakumaran said he complained to police and Elections Canada with no response.

"Elections Canada, it's like talking to a wall," he said.

CBC reported Tuesday that Marlene Gallyot, the federal Conservative candidate who lost to the NDP's Rathika Sitsabaiesan in Scarborough-Rouge River has complained to Elections Canada, alleging ineligible voters "by the dozens" turned up on voting day and filed ballots illegally. She also said scrutineers — party volunteers who oversee voting on behalf of candidates — were approaching voters at polling stations, speaking to them in Tamil and coaching them on who to vote for.

Mano Kanagamany, who has worked on Liberal Party campaigns in east Toronto for 25 years, said Wednesday that he and former Scarborough Southwest candidate Michelle Simson filed a complaint with Elections Canada after the last federal election over concerns about illegal voters.

"We are only asking Elections Canada to investigate it," Kanagamany said. "Cross-check with [Citizenship and Immigration Canada] that they are real citizens who live in the riding."

Most of the complaints involve members of the Tamil community.

Gary Anandasangaree, a spokesman for the Canadian Tamil Congress, said the community works to get out the vote but has never heard of anyone taking part in fraud.

"We're not in any way, advertently or inadvertently, suggesting people go out and vote when they're not eligible to vote," he said.

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