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Canada Election 2015: Reports Of Pre-Marked Ballots Raise Concerns

A Vancouver teacher's Facebook post on the matter has been shared more than 21,000 times.

As Canadians head to the polls, several voters across Canada have reported that they received ballots that were already marked.

Last week, Chris Quarrie, a teacher in Vancouver voting in an advance poll, told CBC News he received a ballot that already had an X beside the Conservative candidate.

After the ballot was declared spoiled, he received a second that was pre-marked for the Green candidate. A third, unmarked ballot was given to him and he voted.

An Elections Canada spokesperson told CBC an "extremely rare" printing error caused the issue.

Quarrie's Facebook post on the incident has been shared more than 21,000 times.

To all Canadians: I went to vote today in early voting, and noticed that my ballot had been pre-marked, with what looked...

Posted by Chris Quarrie on Friday, October 9, 2015

But since that report, other similar stories have surfaced.

In Peterborough, Ont., a student told CBC News he also received a pre-marked ballot — with an X beside the Tory candidate — at an advance poll over Thanksgiving weekend. Elections Canada told CBC they have no record of the incident.

A voter in Kitchener, Ont., told 570 News Monday that a ballot he received on voting day was also pre-marked for the Conservative candidate.

"Guy hands me the ballot, and he's folded it for me. I got back to the cardboard screen, I unfold it, and there's an 'X,'" he told the radio station.

And, in Halifax, a woman told Metro that the ballot she received Monday had an X already "clearly" marked for a candidate. She did not say what name it was marked next to.

The woman told the newspaper that she called Elections Canada, and was told it was likely an ink smear.

There are an estimated 26.4 million eligible voters across Canada. More than3.6 million have already cast a ballot.

Elections Canada spokeswoman Diane Benson told The Huffington Post Canada by email that some ballots can be marked "because of printing issues (ex: ink smear or mark.)

"This is called a spoiled ballot. If the elector gets one, they can ask the deputy returning officer for a new ballot," she wrote.

Spoiled ballots are all tracked but not counted. Voters worried about their ballot should take concerns directly to poll supervisors and can also contact Elections Canada.

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