An Osoyoos trustee candidate says she’s prepared to do herself what elected trustees should but are declining to do in the wake of discovered irregularities in a November 5 by-election.
Penny Dupperon is giving the Okanagan Similkameen School District until close of business today to “change its mind” and seek a judicial review. Otherwise, she says, they’ll be a respondent in an action in B.C. Supreme Court rather than a petitioner.
“If I don’t hear anything back today — that the district has changed its mind — then we’re going to move forward,” Ms. Dupperon said this morning.
“The dispute with SD53 is not about winning or losing. It’s bigger than that.”
“It’s about the school district and board choosing which rules to follow,” she explains in a letter delivered to the School District and shared with local media. “It’s about Ms. Tarr, a trustee for our community, the board and district responding like this error is insignificant. It’s about this district and board not being willing to step up and do the right thing.
“If we let this go, what’s next. How does this district and board decide which rules are important? How do you decide when it’s okay to violate people’s rights?”
Ms. Dupperon’s assertion comes after SD53 Secretary Treasurer Lynda Minnabarriet informed trustees at a November 23 board meeting that only one advance poll was held for the November 5 by-election.
The provincial Local Government Act requires that “at least two advance voting opportunities must be held for an election by voting” — one on the 10th day before general voting day, and the second on another date set by the local government authority administering the election.
The remedy for such an irregularity is a judicial review by the B.C. Supreme Court. Ms. Dupperon had asked the school district to request such a review; late last week, SD53 administration declined that request.
The district instead indicated that if such a review was to come it would have to be requested by one of the three by-election candidates or from within the Osoyoos community.
“In a statement made at the recent school board meeting, and in a press release, this is being referred to as an ‘error or oversight,’ ” said Ms. Dupperon. “Instead of doing the right thing, their answer is ‘take it to court.’ ”
Ms. Dupperon finished second in the November 5 by-election, receiving more votes on Voting Day than winning candidate Casey Brouwer. Mr. Brouwer, however, received more votes at the October 26 advance polling opportunity.
He finished 40 votes ahead of Ms. Dupperon.
“I don’t know if this would have had a material affect on the results of the election.,” Ms. Dupperon writes about the irregularity. “You can’t know that either.
“The evidence suggests that it did. If advanced voting had no impact, then let’s throw out the first advanced poll. If we did that, the outcome would have been much different.
“If the first advanced poll had an impact, then it is a fair assumption to make that the second one would as well”