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Election Act tweaked to accommodate late Libs, Greens missed deadline

B.C. Liberal Party officials failed to sign endorsement papers for their candidates, according to Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld's report on the Oct. 29, 2008 byelections in Vancouver.

Elections B.C. received the endorsements for Arthur Griffiths in Vancouver-Burrard and for Margaret MacDiarmid in Vancouver-Fairview on Oct. 10, 2008, said an order printed in Neufeld's report, released last week. That was on time, but "on October 16, 2008, the date set for the close of nominations, it was discovered that the endorsement document was not signed by two principal officers of the party, as required by section 60 of the Election Act.”

"The political party had not been advised by Elections B.C. of the error until the time of the close of nominations, which is the deadline for filing party endorsements," the order said. Neufeld gave them another day to get their endorsements in.

The parties are responsible to complete the paper's correctly, said Kenn Faris, an Elections B.C. spokesperson. However, he said, it is up to the agency to review the papers and make sure they are complete and let the party's know if more is needed. "We just, how can I say, made a mistake," he said. "It's safe to say we've tightened our procedures."

The Liberals were not the only party to have had trouble filing its records. Election financing reports were due Jan. 27, 2009. According to Neufeld's report, the Green Party Political Association of British Columbia for each constituency filed reports late.

The B.C. Marijuana, Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic parties all filed their reports on time.

The Green Party filed the two reports on Feb. 26, Faris said, and paid a $1,000 penalty.

"We overlooked the fact we had to do an audit and found that out later than it gave us time to get it done before the deadline," said Green Party leader Jane Sterk. "None of us expected it so none of us paid attention to the notices."

The party got its year-end reports in on time, she said. "We're on to the next election."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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