One of the contenders vying to lead the BC Liberal party won’t have the backing of 1,349 prospective members who were disqualified from voting because of incomplete applications.
A spokesman for Todd Stone’s campaign said email addresses were missing on membership applications for people whose first language is not English.
In a statement, Peter Fassbender said the issue came to light on Jan. 26, when the party contacted Stone’s senior campaign team.
Stone immediately requested a full investigation to determine what happened.
Fassbender said the party agreed with Stone that people with incomplete applications should not be allowed to cast a ballot before the Liberal party chooses its next leader on Saturday evening.
He said some membership applications by all six campaigns were deemed incomplete because of the party’s rigorous verification process.
BC Liberal Party spokesman David Wasyluk said the cutoff for membership signups was on Dec. 29 and over 14,000 audit calls were made to members to verify their contact information.
Company at centre of issue no stranger to controversy
Of the 1,349 memberships signed up by the Stone campaign and later thrown out, all had email addresses created by an employee of Aggregate IQ — a company the campaign hired.
The small, Victoria-based tech company is no stranger to controversy.
WATCH: Alleged illegal sign-ups in Liberal leadership race
British and Canadian privacy regulators are investigating the Aggregate IQ, for its role in the U.K.’s Brexit vote.
The company is credited with helping the “Leave” side score an unexpected victory.
All issues were handled ‘rapidly, strictly and by the book’
In a thread on Twitter, BC Liberal Party executive director Emile Scheffel wrote that they “handled all issues with membership applications rapidly, strictly, and by the book.”
He said they informed each campaign of the number of forms that weren’t accepted, and the reasons for those decisions.
Scheffel said that aside from ensuring the security of the leadership vote, the party’s first concern was to be perceived as neutral and fair — which is why they haven’t commented in detail about speculation regarding any of the campaigns.
The comments came as the party found itself under fire for saying that “all” campaigns had issues with membership sign-ups.