Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Clark appearance outside voting place okay: Elections BC

Elections British Columbia officials fielded questions about whether Premier Christy Clark broke a provincial election law on the day of her narrow by-election victory in Vancouver-Point Grey, but believe her actions were legal.

Clark made a media event of delivering lunch to campaign workers at a polling station at Queen Mary Elementary School on Trimble Street in the riding. The Liberal Party mentioned the appearance in a press release and the Vancouver Sun, for example, published photos on its website of Clark at the voting place.

But as Sunshine Coast Girl noted in a comment on a related Tyee story, the provincial Election Act prohibits candidates from being at voting places while the polls are open.

Section 93 (3) of that act says, "Other than for the purpose of voting, a candidate must not be present while voting proceedings are being conducted."

A candidate casting a ballot is a standard political photo opportunity, but Clark, who does not live in Point Grey, was ineligible to vote in the by-election.

"Elections BC has received several inquiries in relation to this incident," said assistant chief electoral officer Anton Boegman in an email. "Elections BC has reviewed the facts and determined that an offence against section 93(3) of the Election Act has not occurred."

Voting places "are usually rooms within buildings that are publicly accessible within a community," he said. "In this case, the candidate delivered lunches to campaign workers outside the building in which the voting place was located. At no time did the candidate enter the voting place."

The interpretation is based on "legislation, advice from legal counsel, and practical application of the statutes," he said.

The district electoral officer had reminded voting supervisors "that candidates were not allowed to be present in the voting place except if they were there to cast their ballot," he said.

A call to the Clark campaign office was not immediately returned. A spokesperson for the premier's office referred questions to Liberal Party officials. A party spokesperson took questions but did not respond by posting time.

Clark beat the New Democratic Party's David Eby, a lawyer who took a leave as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, by some 600 votes in the May 11 vote. Eby, who lives in the constituency, appeared in photos casting his ballot.

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

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus