Letters direct voters to wrong polling station
Liberal London North Centre candidate Deb Matthews holds a letter she alleges was sent to Liberal supporters in her riding by a local Conservative, pointing the voters to the wrong polling station, before a stop by PC leader Tim Hudak in London, Ontario on Tuesday June 10, 2014. (CRAIG GLOVER, The London Free Press)
LONDON, Ont. ─ Was it an honest mistake or an attempt to dupe non-Tory voters?
Either way, Progressive Conservative candidate Nancy Branscombe was in damage control mode Tuesday, scrambling to make apologies after a letter sent out from her campaign office appeared to direct some London North Centre voters to the wrong polling station.
Under fire from Liberal rival Deb Matthews, Branscombe made personal apologies after 64 homes ─ many occupied by Liberal supporters ─ received letters that erroneously implied they could vote at a station across town.
And they weren't the only ones. After the Ontario Liberal party filed a complaint about the London North Centre situation with Elections Ontario Tuesday, a similar note surfaced in Ottawa.
In the London letter, Branscombe volunteer Tim Gatten describes his plan to vote on election day by driving to Ridgeview Community Church.
Gatten ends by saying "maybe we will bump into each other at Ridgeview Community Church." The problem is the church is the wrong polling station for those who received the letter.
"It was very clearly directed to Liberal party supporters, telling them to vote in the wrong place," said Matthews, who called the letter "immoral and illegal."
Homeowner Marian Hamou, one of the homeowners who got the letter, received an apology from Branscombe.
She told Hamou the letter had been mistakenly sent to the wrong addresses by an elderly volunteer in her campaign office, Hamou said.
"(Branscombe) came here in all sincerity and honesty. There are some questions I have, but whatever, it's fine."
-with files from Hank Daniszewski