ELECTIONS 2014: Candidate handing out prizes to voters. Can he do that?
by Jennifer Stahn
Image Credit: Facebook
October 19, 2014 - 10:36 AM
KAMLOOPS - While other candidates are figuring out ways to raise funds or organize ‘meet the candidate’ events, one city council candidate is instead offering prizes for online interaction.
Bob Dieno has taken to Facebook to interact with voters. While many other candidates have also done so, Dieno is the only one offering prizes if people respond to his questions and like his page. This type of interaction appears to be a new way of campaigning in the Interior, along with social media, slates, crowd funding and crowd sourcing.
Both the city and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development defer the issue to Elections B.C. and Communications Manager Don Main says offering prizes is allowed, as long as it is declared as an election expense in the disclosure papers that must be filed after the election.
“It is actually a permissible activity,” Main says. “However it is the responsibility of every candidate… to file general disclosure, so anything they give as a prize has to be disclosed. Everything they spend they have to disclose.”
According to the Local Government Act, vote buying is an offense. That can include payment, buying coffee or offering to drive a voter to the voting place, but only if an obligation to vote or not vote for a certain person is indicated. If there is no overt or implied obligation then offering something such as a coffee or a ride is permitted.
This is the first year Elections B.C. has overseen the financial side of municipal elections and there are new rules in place for candidates. Main said earlier this week crowd funding was ‘nothing we’ve seen before’ and had much the same to say about prizes being offered for online consultation.
Dieno has already handed out one $10 gift card and plans on offering one up as a weekly prize leading up to the Nov. 15 election.
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