June 10, 2014 4:32 pm

Liberals claim Tories trying to misdirect London voters

A file photo of Health Minister Deb Mathews from August 7, 2013.

Rene Johnston / Toronto Star / Getty Images

TORONTO – The Liberals claim two of their supporters received letters from federal Conservative staffers directing them to nonexistent voting locations.

“This is a letter to Liberal party supporters, people with signs on their front lawn, from a very prominent London Conservative who is an assistant to the federal MP and a former PC candidate telling people to go the wrong place to vote,” Liberal candidate and Health Minister Deb Mathews told reporters Tuesday.

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“It’s an obvious attempt to discourage voting. I think it’s outrageous. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical and I believe it is illegal.”

The Liberals say they have filed an “urgent complaint” with Elections Ontario but the agency refused to comment on whether it received a complaint or was investigating.

The letters are signed by Tim Gatten, a federal Conservative staffer, and tells voters they’re voting at the Ridgeview Community Church – the wrong polling station. The letter doesn’t explicitly tell the people to vote there but says “maybe we will bump into each other at Ridgeview Community Church.”

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

The Tories claim approximately 64 letters went out incorrectly due to “administrative errors” caused when a stack of letters was mislabelled, a Tory spokesperson told Global News.

“The local campaign is not only writing a correction letter but they’re going to hand-deliver it,” PC communications director Will Stewart said in an interview Tuesday.

The Progressive Conservative campaign also sent out a press release with a statement from PC Candidate Nancy Branscombe apologizing for the mistake.

“Today, I was made aware that letters from my campaign may have caused some confusion for residents of 64 households in the riding of London North Centre,” the letter read.

“I want to apologize for any inconvenience.”

Elections Ontario does not launch an investigation over every complaint. It reviews each complaint and, if deemed serious enough, the complaint will be sent to the Ministry of the Attorney General, which could then refer the matter to police.

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