The lawyer representing Albertans concerned with the potential use of electronic voting machines in the upcoming provincial election says voters are taking preemptive action to ensure election integrity.
On Monday, Alberta litigator Leighton Grey of Grey Wowk Spencer LLP sent a letter to Elections Alberta saying he represents many residents who don’t want electronic voting machines used.
Grey said the intention of the letter is to ensure that Elections Alberta intends to hand count the ballots and to keep all ballots for three months following election day, as stipulated under the Alberta Election Act.
“So that’s really the impetus for it, is just an expression of public concern,” he told True North.
“We want to make sure because this is really important… and we’re concerned that the result that comes out of it is accurate and correct and done according to law.”
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 impugn the integrity and reliability of its outcome,” says the letter, which has been obtained by True North.
Grey said that Rachel Notley’s government changed regulations in 2017 to allow for electronic tabulators. He said such machines were used in the Calgary municipal election.
In his letter, Grey argued that electronic voting machines reduced confidence in the Calgary Municipal elections. He also said the results could not be appealed because the ballots were machine counted and then immediately destroyed.
The Alberta Elections Act requires ballots to be kept for three months in case a candidate requests a recount. Ballots must then be kept for another three months from the date of a recount.
“We wanted to have the Chief Electoral Officer confirm that ballots would be preserved,” Grey said.
Grey said he hasn’t yet received a response from Elections Alberta.
Elections Alberta did not respond to a media request from True North requesting clarification on whether it intends to use electronic tabulators.
After losing the 2020 US election, former President Donald Trump was relentless in his attacks against electronic voting equipment. The attacks largely centered on Dominion Voting Systems, a Canadian software company that’s widely used in the US.
Grey said ES&S and Dominion Voting Machines were used in the Calgary election.
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 U.S. elections.”
Alberta has a comparatively small population compared to the US. A population of 4.6 million residents, a record 68% of the eligible population, or 1.9 million people, cast a ballot in the 2019 election.