THE Chief Returning Officer for the BC Liberal leadership vote, Geoff Plant, on Friday said that recent media reports are a reminder that the process put in place to ensure the integrity of the election has worked. Where membership applications did not meet the Party’s strict criteria, they were not accepted, he added.
In a statement, Plant said: “This past fall, I agreed to come on board as Chief Returning Officer for the leadership vote — because as a BC Liberal Party member of many years, I wanted to ensure the process would have the integrity that all members expect and deserve. Having participated in and observed my share of elections campaigns, nomination battles, and leadership races, I have done my best to bring that experience to bear in providing advice and oversight over the past five months.
“Every party leadership race brings with it a host of challenges – including the constant struggle to balance integrity with accessibility, growing the party while ensuring the outcome reflects the will of its members. I’m writing to share with you some insight into the measures the Party has taken to ensure the outcome of the race is beyond question.
“One of our most important priorities has been the integrity of the membership database. To that end, the Party introduced stricter requirements for payment of membership fees, placed thousands of audit calls to verify individuals’ identities and contact information, and established a voter registration process that has allowed a higher level of authentication than before.
“These efforts also involved rigorous inspection of membership applications submitted to the Party by the leadership campaigns. As a result of this membership verification process, some applications from each of the submitting campaign teams did not meet the Party’s standards and were not accepted. Each of the leadership campaigns that submitted applications was informed by the Party how many of these were not accepted, and for what reasons.”
He added: “This work by Party Headquarters, and the findings that resulted, have been shared along the way with me, with Deputy Returning Officer Stacy Robertson, and with the Leadership Rules Committee – an experienced group of Party members delegated by the Party Executive to oversee the enforcement of the rules. Where necessary, we have undertaken further investigation of issues and concerns brought to our attention by Party Headquarters and by leadership campaigns.
“As the voting period draws to a close, I am confident that the Party Executive, the Rules Committee, and Party Headquarters have acted appropriately and effectively in setting and enforcing the rules of this process.
“I want to thank all members of this Party for their participation in this exciting leadership race – and I look forward to welcoming our new leader with you tomorrow evening.”