‘Dead’ woman looking for answers

Bumped off voting list as deceased, Hope woman demands apology

Margaret Stephens wants everyone to know she is alive — and kicking.

The longtime Hope resident was shocked to hear of her own death, as told to her by Elections B.C. last Thursday.

She knew she hadn’t received a voting card in the mail, so she took her small, previously issued, voters card with her when she headed to the polls. A regular voter, she intended to vote for her new MLA.

When she arrived, she was told she was not on the list, and that she could register on site. And she would have, she said, if the exact same thing hadn’t happened before.

But it did. In 2009, she was told the same thing.

“I reapplied then (in 2009), and I thought I was okay,” she said.

So, sensing something was entirely wrong, Stephens headed home and called Elections BC directly. It was there she was told she was listed as deceased.

“When did i die?,” she asked them. “There is somebody walking around here on two legs, so tell me when did I die?”

But she wasn’t going to let that stop her. She marched back to the polling station, registered onsite, and cast her ballot.

But her experience has her wondering how accurate the entire elections system is.

“I am cross,” she said. “I have lived in Hope for 78 years, lived in the same house for 56 years. Where is my ballot?”

She wonders what happened when she registered at the polling station in 2009, and whether her vote was ever recorded. She wonders what will happen to her vote this time around, too.

“It’s got to be cleaned up,” she said. “It’s my privilege to vote and it’s my right to vote, and I don’t know where my name has gone.”

She had been trying to get in touch with newly-elected MLA Gwen O’Mahony, to get help in finding out what went wrong. She also wants an apology, and proof that she is now a registered voter. O’Mahony has not yet been sworn in, but has been in Victoria all week getting a crash course in politics.

The Observer caught up with her between meetings, and put the two women in contact.

By chance, Bill-33 is being discussed this week, which in part discusses door-to-door enumeration.

“This is quite timely, given what is being discussed right now,” she said. She agrees the issue is troubling, and vowed to help Stephens find out what happened.

“Sure people make mistakes,” O’Mahony said. “But what this does is it tears at the fiber of trust.”

“The Liberals feel we have the best, most up-to-date voters list, but there are obviously still issues.”

She is hoping to see a return of timely, door-to-door enumeration, to clean up the voters list.

Stephens, clearly, wants something to be done, too.

“Something is fishy in Denmark,” she said.

news@ahobserver.com