Albertans concerned with electronic voting machines retain legal counsel

Albertans concerned with Elections Alberta’s use of electronic voting machines in the upcoming provincial election have retained legal counsel, which is arguing that use of the tabulators would reduce election integrity.

Alberta litigator Leighton Gray of Gray Wowk Spencer LLP sent a letter to Elections Alberta on Monday, saying he represents many residents concerned with ensuring the integrity of the province’s 29th election.

Gray says he’s become aware that Elections Alberta intends to enable machine tabulator counting in the upcoming provincial election. The letter argues that the Alberta Election Act clearly intends for “witnessed hand counting of ballots.”

“Any Directive to extend electronic voting machines to the entire Alberta 2023 election would necessarily impair the integrity and reliability of its outcome,” says the letter, which has been viewed by True North.

The letter stipulates that Elections Alberta has a responsibility under the Elections Act to facilitate accessible voting, with the use of “accessible voting equipment” such as voting equipment and related vote-counting equipment.

But, the firm argues that the use of voting machines does not agree with the “spirit and intention of the Alberta Elections Act.”

“Any directive produced by the Chief Electoral Officer must aim to give the voting public confidence that checks and balances are in place to ensure that results are above reproach.”

After losing the 2020 US election, former President Donald Trump was relentless in his attacks against electronic voting equipment. The attacks are largely centered on Dominion Voting Systems, a Canadian software company that’s widely used in the US.

Trump argued that Dominion tampered with millions of electronic ballots.

In recent weeks, Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against conservative media companies and Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, saying “lies and misinformation have severely damaged our company and diminished the credibility of US elections.”

Gray also argued that electronic voting machines reduced confidence in the Calgary Municipal elections where the results could not be appealed because the ballots were machine counted and then immediately destroyed.

He requested confirmation from Elections Alberta that all ballots will be securely preserved for up to three months after the election, and up to three months from any recount, and that any party’s candidate may request a recount.

Gray also requested that if a recount overturns the electronic counting in that poll, the impacted party can request the entire provincial vote to be recounted using only paper ballots.

“There has been much talk around the world about flaws in voting machines,” the letter reads.

“This is a crucial election for the future of Alberta and so the eyes of every Albertan and indeed the nation are upon you. It is thus imperative that you take all reasonable steps to uphold and preserve the fairness and integrity of the electoral process.”

Gray Wowk Spencer LLP requested a response from Elections Alberta by April 15.

Elections Alberta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.

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