N.L. NDP launches constitutional challenge of election results, calls for new vote

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democrats are asking a court to declare the province's recent election unconstitutional, saying voting irregularities were so numerous and severe that a new election must be held.

Court documents shared with The Canadian Press allege chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk failed to run an election that was fair, impartial and in compliance with the province's Elections Act.

The suit makes several allegations, including that Chaulk allegedly told Elections NL staff to register voters who didn't have proper identification, and that he took ballot kits home and encouraged other employees to do the same.

It is signed by NDP Leader Alison Coffin, who lost her seat in the St. John's East-Quidi Vidi district by 53 votes.

The lawsuit is co-signed by Whymarrh Whitby, a voter in Coffin's district who had told The Canadian Press that despite several requests, he did not receive a ballot from Elections NL.

A COVID-19 outbreak in mid-February prompted Chaulk to cancel all in-person voting set for Feb. 13 and shift the process to mail-in ballots; the results were announced March 27 following several deadline extensions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press