OLP probing allegations of voter fraud in Malton nomination contest

By Sabrina Nanji October 14, 2020

The Ontario Liberal Party is investigating allegations of “colossal voter fraud” in the Mississauga—Malton nomination contest, Queen’s Park Today has learned. 
Aman Gill — a community volunteer who worked for the federal MP Navdeep Bains — was nominated to run under the Liberal banner in the next election after beating out four other contestants on September 26.
But at least two rival contenders have raised concerns about “irregularities” in the voting process, some of which are “criminal in nature,” according to an email the local riding association president sent to party brass, which was obtained by Queen’s Park Today.
The allegation is that one of the campaigns gamed the OLP’s new online voting system by impersonating voters and creating fake emails with which to fraudulently cast virtual ballots. 
Generally, when people sign up to vote in a virtual Liberal nomination contest, their contact information and a copy of their ID is collected. They will then receive a PIN in their email inbox that they can use to vote, as long as they confirm their ID. 
One candidate, Manu Datta, claimed at least 250 people in Malton were defrauded because a rival campaign attached fake emails to their Liberal Party memberships. Those emails were then used to obtain PINs and the campaign voted using the members’ IDs without their knowledge or consent.  
“Their emails on the list are not their emails. Someone has manufactured them,” riding president Jaswant Mangat said in an email to OLP’s chief legal counsel Milton Chan and executive director Ian Hall
“The OLP must not allow such criminal and radical mafia’s actions to elect a candidate through illegal means,” Mangat charged. 
He also said there was ample time to resolve the candidates’ concerns ahead of the nomination meeting, and Chan’s “excuse” that “these irregularities should have been brought to the OLP’s attention earlier is simply not acceptable.” 
“The OLP is under a legal duty to ensure a fair and democratic nomination process, not only in theory or talk but in practice,” Mangat went on to say.
One senior Liberal with knowledge of the nomination process said “the situation in Malton makes clear that institutionalized cheating will be very easy for some organizers to perform, and many vulnerable community members may have their identities mined.” 
“Ultimately, many minority groups may be deceived into signing up to vote … The safeguards just aren’t in place to protect voters,” they said. 
The irregularities also got some ink in an earlier story in the Canadian Punjabi Post, which was translated by Queen’s Park Today
With more than 100 non-incumbent candidates to lock in before the next scheduled election in 2022, the Grits are taking nomination contests digital amid Covid
Party president Brian Johns declined to comment on the specifics of the ongoing Malton appeal, but said voter PIN codes used in nominations “are the responsibility of the individual member.” 
“In all nomination contests, digital or otherwise, the local party returning officer receives all challenges from contestants and makes final rulings on voter eligibility. Contestants who are unsatisfied with rulings by the PLA returning officer may appeal through a party arbitration process,” Johns said in a statement. He also boasted Gill as the Grits’ first candidate under 30.
The Liberals have already secured their Mississauga-area slate for 2022: ex-minister Dipika Damerla will run in Mississauga East—Cooksville; telecom business executive Imran Mian will carry the torch in Mississauga—Erin Mills; and mental health advocate Sumira Malik will vie for a seat in Mississauga Centre.