MASU says Elections NB will investigate after Mt. A. students were turned away at the polls

Students line up to vote on election day, but many faced hostile questions and some were repeatedly turned away

The Mount Allison Students Union (MASU) says that Elections NB has agreed to launch an official investigation after dozens of eligible student voters were repeatedly turned away from the polls at the Sackville Civic Centre on September 14th, the day of the provincial election.

In an e-mail today to students, President Jonathan Ferguson says that Elections NB informed MASU on Thursday that it would conduct a formal investigation.

“We are pleased to see that Elections New Brunswick is treating this event with the seriousness it merits,” Ferguson writes.

He says an investigator has already been hired and will be visiting Sackville to conduct interviews next Friday and Saturday.

Ferguson’s e-mail encourages students who had trouble voting to get in touch with him so that they can submit their comments to the investigator.

On election day, many students who were qualified to vote reported that they faced hostile questioning and were warned by poll workers and a Liberal scrutineer that they would be committing voter fraud if they tried to cast a ballot.

Some students were turned away altogether. New Brunswick’s Chief Electoral Officer intervened to clarify the rules, but even after that, students were still being told they weren’t qualified to vote.

For an in-depth report from CHMA journalist Erica Butler, click here.

In a comment sent to Warktimes the day after the election, Sabine Dietz, who helped manage the Green campaign, wrote that during nearly five hours at the Civic Centre, she witnessed many students being turned away.

“It was an absolutely appalling situation. I saw students continuously turned away, coming out without having been allowed to vote DESPITE there having been clear instructions by about 4 pm.,” Dietz wrote.

To read her full comment, click here.

Meantime, in his e-mail, the MASU president thanks students for their commitment to democracy.

“September 14th should not have unfolded the way it did – this investigation is part of series of steps that are being taken to make sure this does not happen again,” Ferguson concludes.

For previous coverage, click here.

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2 Responses to MASU says Elections NB will investigate after Mt. A. students were turned away at the polls

  1. Its okay… we just want you to know that all politicians are largely in agreement on the things that are important in 2020… like wearing a mask, getting tested for covid19, social distancing, washing your hands compulsively, shaming others for not being compliant, and obeying all and any random instructions/mandates issued by the public health official of the government. Relax, your government is in control New Brunswick. I wonder how much the town and mta.ca have spent on signs this year.. its been a doozy.

  2. Les Hicks says:

    Thank you Bruce for the update on the inexcusable situation that many Mount A students were faced with when trying to exercise their right to vote. It will be interesting to see the results of the investigation that Elections NB plans to conduct, but I wonder if it is the correct agency to conduct the investigation, since it will in effect be investigating itself. Is Elections NB not responsible for ensuring that the workers at all of the polling stations are informed of the regulations regarding who is and isn’t eligible to vote at each polling station? According to the Elections NB website “We work in an honest and trustworthy manner administering transparent and non-partisan electoral processes that adhere to legal and ethical principles.” It doesn’t sound non-partisan when a Liberal Party representative confronts eligible voters at a polling station and claims that they do not have the right to vote. I suppose the very short time period that the organization had to organize this election, which was announced so abruptly by Higgs, could be a factor. However, Elections NB was aware that Mt A students would be voting in this riding, as they have done in previous elections, so I don’t understand why the workers at the polling station were not properly informed, in their training prior to election day, of the regulations pertaining to university students’ voting.

    Re Kata List Productions’ comments, I don’t see what they have to do with this election issue. Your rant against the provincial public health department’s correct response to this pandemic, a response that was guided by information provided by epidemiologists who are experienced in dealing with pandemics like this, indicates your ignorance of the facts. Your ridiculing of the general population for responsibly following the advice of the provincial health authorities demonstrates that you must be getting your COVID19 information from Fox News or The Donald himself. Regarding your comment about shaming others for not being compliant, do you not see that those people who have not maintained social distancing or worn masks in public are endangering not only themselves but others they come in contact with? I would think that the recent outbreaks in Campbellton and Moncton, which without a doubt will be found to have resulted from some irresponsible citizens flouting the guidelines and regulations, would give you a wake-up call about the seriousness of this pandemic.

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