The campaign is unfair, the result may be a fraud.
A year ago, the 2013 annual report and audited financial statements were in public hands. The independent auditor’s report was signed in March 2014. This year’s audit report and financials are withheld.
TransLink is delaying its annual meeting and release of 2014 financial statements, although the audit has been complete for months. The most recent quarterly financials available to the public are for the three months ended September 30, 2014. It takes no rocket-scientist to deduce the information withheld would not be helpful to the YES side of the the Transit Referendum.
Business in Vancouver led its May 2014 story with this:
TransLink ridership levels appear to have “hit a plateau” after decreasing by 4.9 million, or 2%, in 2013 compared with the year prior, the transit authority has reported.
The YES side has made no comprehensive disclosure of its spending of tax dollars but independent journalist Bob Mackin reports the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition budgeted almost $1 million and TransLink’s Mayors’ Council allocated $6 million. Other municipal governments in Metro Vancouver are spending additional sums to promote a regional sales tax to provide TransLink with yet another source of public funds. More revenue enables TransLink to continue paying the highest executive salaries and consultant fees in the world of transit.
Perhaps $10 million, mostly taxpayer dollars, are promoting a yes vote. That is about 250 times the NO side budget.
However, there is another perversion of the democratic process. The mail-in vote is conducted by civil servants, unsupervised by proponents and opponents of the question. Scrutineers of voting have long played an important role in ensuring voting fairness yet they are absent from the entire voting process now underway. Section 70(1) of the British Columbia Election Act act defines the role of scrutineers in regular voting:
A candidate or the candidate’s official agent may appoint candidate representatives in accordance with this section to represent the candidate by observing the conduct of voting, registration at the time of voting and counting proceedings for the election.
In the current transit referendum, public officials have lined up almost exclusively on one side of the issue and public officials are handling completed ballots behind closed doors. The opportunity for fraud exists and the withholding of vital financial information demonstrates the people in control are motivated to pervert the vote result.
Can it happen? Has it happened? Last month, The Telegraph newspaper reported in Britain:
Postal voting fraud is ‘easy’, electoral commissioner says.
In his judgment against the Tower Hamlets mayor, Richard Mawrey raised concerns that the fraud is increasingly commonplace.
Postal voting fraud has become “easy” because of “extremely lax rules”, the electoral commissioner has said amid concerns that the practice is widespread…
“The ease of postal vote fraud and the difficulty of policing it led to such a great upsurge in personation that, in the Birmingham case, the number of false votes was virtually half of all votes recorded as having been cast for the winning candidates.”