Campaigns seek to turn out supporters, but court controversy

© Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald Jennifer Klein, Charles Mike and Francis Daniels went to Josh Morrow's pancake breakfast and rode to the polls in a black stretch limousine

Some candidates are offering rides to get their supporters to the polls, with one ferrying voters in a stretch limousine

With the election a week away, candidates are preparing to get their voters to the polls. The four mayoral candidates are sending out mailers, using social media or phoning supporters to remind them of the big day on October 26.

But one strategy has stoked controversy.

The Controverted Municipal Elections Act prohibits candidates from offering “money or valuable consideration” to induce voters to turn out. It also bans candidates from hiring “horses, teams, carriages or other vehicles for the purpose of conveying voters to or from the polls.”

That’s considered bribery, and can get an elected candidate thrown out of office and fined.

Three candidates have been driving voters to advance polling. Greg Dionne has been using his personal vehicle, while Conrad Burns posted on Facebook that a friend would help drive supporters to advance polls on October 12.

In those two cases, the candidates were not, apparently, “hiring” vehicles. Nor does a ride in a personal vehicle appear to amount to “valuable consideration.”

Josh Morrow is running a somewhat more luxurious get-out-the-vote campaign. On October 15, he held a pancake breakfast in the West Flat. Afterwards, he shuttled voters to advance polling in a black stretch limousine.

Francis Daniels, Charles Mike and Jennifer Klein got a ride in that limo. All three said they voted for Morrow.

“We just thought it was a breakfast,” Daniels said. “He sat down with us maybe five minutes and said, ‘do you guys need a ride?’”

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