Sunday, November 20, 2005

Jim Green Victim of Idiotic Dirty Trick

As stupid and unprincipled as we often accuse our own politicians of being, now we know that it could get a lot stupider.

Jim Green, the de facto successor in his own mind to Larry Campbell for the mayorship of Vancouver has lost the election to a business-friendly candidate, Sam Sullivan, in an extremely close race. More info and background are in this MeFi thread.

The twist is that there was another candidate running in the race named James Green, who didn't have a hope of winning and enver really had a coherent platform, but who did have a fancy-shmancy campaign bus which he couldn't explain how it was paid for.

This article in the Globe written just before the election has more details. Link.
Jim Green is one of the front-runners for the Vancouver mayor's job along with Sam Sullivan, the Non-Partisan Association's candidate for the position.

So when a man named James Green announced he was running for mayor, as an independent, no one paid much attention. Initially anyway. Obviously the media made note of the name -- James Green/Jim Green, ha, ha, very funny -- but there wasn't much scrutiny of his motives.

When it was discovered, however, that James Green's campaign office was in the same complex as Sam Sullivan's, suspicions began to grow. And when James Green, a man of modest means, unveiled a fancy campaign bus, the chorus of whispers around his candidacy grew even louder.

The Non-Partisan Association, the theory went, was secretly financing James Green's campaign to create ballot-box bedlam and bother on election night.

...

As The Globe and Mail's Rod Mickleburgh reported yesterday, one man voting in an advanced poll made a similar mistake, accidentally putting an X beside James Green's name instead of Jim Green's. Realizing his error before feeding the ballot into the vote-counting machine, the man was allowed to change it.

"I'm very concerned," Jim Green said yesterday when reached on the campaign trail. "We've already seen evidence of what can happen. I'm really concerned about people for whom English is a second language, or [who] may have a visual impairment or a learning disability. It's pretty easy to make that mistake.

"It would be a shame if we lost votes in a close race to someone who would appear to have no legitimate reason for being in this race other than to create confusion among voters."
So the race was close enough that every vote gotten by "James Green" is now suspect. In fact, if you add Jim Green and "James Green"'s votes together it totals more than the number of votes received by Sullivan.

This is pretty scummy, to be sure. One wonders how badly some groups didn't want Vancouver to continue on the path of harm-reduction approaches to drug addiction and other pretty revolutionary social policies put in place by Campbell that they would pull a stunt like this.

Perhaps in four years someone will start a party called the NRA and run a candidate Samuel Sullivan to confuse the voters even more.
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