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NDP leadership voters getting PINs early Add to ...

Eager to avoid the voting problems that plagued the B.C. Liberal leadership race, the company that conducted the vote has decided to mail personal identification numbers for the coming NDP contest sooner than first planned.

Dean Smith, president of Intelivote Systems Inc., said the NDP numbers will likely be mailed a week earlier than usual.

Mr. Smith said the PINs for the Liberal race were mailed from Ottawa up to 10 days before the new party leader was to be chosen. But Intelivote and the B.C. Liberals were left scrambling when thousands of voter packages failed to arrive in time.

The Liberal party said it was “disappointed” with Intelivote and its partners, as well as Canada Post. Mr. Smith said the company won’t take any chances when it comes to the New Democratic vote April 17.

“In talking to them [the NDP], we said we better add a week and they said that’s probably not a bad idea. They don’t want to have the same situation happen to them,” said Mr. Smith.

“That part of it is something that we did learn. B.C. is a little different in terms of the geography and in terms of the mail delivery than some of the other places we deal with.”

An NDP official said the party’s leadership vote should be a much smoother than that of the Liberals, partly because New Democrats hoping to cast ballots had to be signed up 90 days before the vote itself.

The Liberal Party allowed new members to sign up until just a few weeks before the leadership vote. Thousands of names had to be chopped from the membership list after questions arose about dubious voters. In one instance, a cat belonging to a senior Christy Clark volunteer had been made a member.

The NDP has several verification officers working to try and ensure those who have been signed up are legitimate voters. The officers call a random 10 per cent of the new sign-ups to verify information.

“They’re welcoming them to the NDP and they’re just verifying that people exist, that they’re not members of another political party, that they intended to sign up, that they’re not a dog or a cat, those sort of basic things,” the NDP official said.

Chad Pederson, executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party, said Saturday’s vote was relatively smooth. Mr. Pederson said almost 63 per cent of those registered to vote did so, a strong turnout for a leadership event.

Mr. Pederson said he didn’t know just how many Liberals might have failed to receive their PINs in time.

“We haven’t received a lot of those complaints. Many of the individuals who may not have been able to obtain a pin did utilize our phone centre, as well as the online application,” he said.

About 80 per cent of those who voted in the Liberal race did so by phone. Mr. Pederson said he was confident fraud was not a concern, and members have told the party the online process was the easiest way they’ve ever been able to vote.

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