An apparent irregularity on the nomination papers of at least four candidates has created a last-minute glitch in the election race.
Mayoral candidate Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and council candidates Jack Crompton, Steve Andrews and Steve Anderson have to appear in court on Friday to satisfy a judge that they should be included on the ballot.
On Oct. 14, Wilhelm-Morden and Crompton learned that their nomination papers were being challenged because nominator Drew Meredith did not provide a Whistler address on their forms. He also wrote his Pemberton address in a section of the form for the "address of Whistler property if nominator is non-resident property elector."
Wilhelm-Morden said that she understood that Meredith was qualified to nominate candidates as a "Freeman" of Whistler, someone who has been given keys to the city and permanent resident status.
"My understanding is that (Meredith) is always qualified to vote in a Whistler election," said Wilhelm-Morden on Tuesday.
"All the (Local Government) Act requires ... (is that) the person nominating sign his name and give his residential address and that is exactly what Drew did."
Pique confirmed before press time that the challenges were made by the municipality's Chief Election Officer after discovering the irregularities. The review was triggered by an inquiry from Ralph Forsyth's election team. According to the RMOW, the officer must ensure all forms strictly comply with the Local Government Act.
According to the act, a candidate must have nominations from at least two qualified nominators. To be qualified, a person must meet provincial requirements to vote in the election, and "must also be qualified as a resident elector or non-resident property elector."
Also under the act, a nomination form must include "the names and residential addresses of the nominators and, if a nominator is a non-resident property elector, the address of the property..."
Candidates whose forms are being challenged have to appear before a B.C. Provincial Court judge within three days to sort out the issue.
"I submitted my papers on Oct. 5, so why did they wait nine days until the after nomination is closed to say they think there is something wrong with where (Meredith) put his address on the form?" asked Wilhelm-Morden.
"This is exactly the type of nonsense that is driving people crazy.
"They (RMOW) have retained their lawyer, they have filed court documents. It is a complete waste of time."
Council candidate Jack Crompton is facing the same challenge after Meredith acted as a nominator for him as well. Meredith used his Pemberton address and did not supply a second address that qualified him as a resident.
Crompton said he checked with municipal hall while filing the papers and was assured that Meredith's status in Whistler made him suitable as a nominator.
"The craziest part is the elections officer signed off on it and said it was acceptable," said Crompton on Wednesday. "That's what I find most amazing."
Steve Andrews said his papers were being challenged for two reasons; one of his nominators wrote their address in the wrong column (probably because of the lack of space on the form), while his second nominator was scratched out and a new name entered.
"I received an email (after the change) from the deputy election officer that they had received my papers and everything was good," said Andrews. "If they said 'no, you need to resubmit another form' I would have been able to do that. It's the fact that they said it's okay that makes me mad."
Steve Anderson's papers were also challenged because of Drew Meredith. Meredith did list his Whistler address this time, but neglected to include his primary address in Pemberton in the first column.
Anderson feels the four candidates have been targeted specifically.
"Interestingly enough, if you go over the other nomination papers that weren't challenged with a fine-tooth comb you can find all kinds of little mistakes, but weren't challenged," said Anderson. "It's kind of nasty."
Any challenge of nomination papers automatically goes to court.
Meredith also signed the nomination papers for candidate Steve Anderson, but provided a Whistler address.
With files from Clare Ogilvie