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Marois tries to bury election irregularities complaint

QUEBEC CITY – Pauline Marois arrived in Drummondville Monday morning determined to move past the weekend’s voter fraud controversy.

After days of Parti Quebecois allegations out-of-province students are attempting to steal the Quebec elections, Marois went back to her usual line of attack, criticizing the Liberals’ ethical record.

“Mr. Couillard has in his team 12, no 18, members of the last team of Mr. Charest,” she said.

But the voter fraud issue refused to die.

READ MORE: PQ vow not to let Ontario students decide election outcome

On Sunday, the PQ’s Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud claimed anglophones and allophones ineligible to vote were getting on voter lists in several Montreal ridings.

Marois said she felt “sick to her stomach” and urged the chief electoral officer to do his job.

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Quebec’s chief electoral officer, Jacques Drouin told reporters that the PQ was grossly exaggerating; the number of new voters this year is generally much lower than in 2012.

READ MORENo irregular activity or vote stealing says Quebec’s Chief Electoral Officer

Still, Marois said she thinks her party was right to air its concerns.

“No I don’t think it’s an exaggeration because if there’s only one person who is voting and she has not the right to do that, we have to ask questions, that is our responsibility,” she said.

But on Monday, a spokesperson for the chief electoral officer said Marois has no business getting personally involved.

“Usually, the chief electoral officer deals with the political parties in the advisory committee created by the electoral act for this purpose and at any time somebody can call us, but using a formal press conference to tell us to do our duty, it was not relevant,” said Denis Dion.

Dion warned “votegate” – as it’s now being called – will have consequences.

“What the Parti Quebecois did with it created a kind of potential discredit of all the electoral system and Quebecers don’t need it.”

Will stirring the pot and raising fears be a winning strategy? The PQ will find out more this week, when Leger Marketing publishes its new poll.

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So far, Pauline Marois’ party is shown to be trailing behind the Liberals.

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