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Tamara Goeppel

Ex-candidate enters pleas of not guilty

Former candidate Tamara Goeppel pleaded not guilty

By Whitehorse Star on June 12, 2017

Former candidate Tamara Goeppel pleaded not guilty to violating the Yukon Elections Act in territorial court on Friday.

Goeppel ran under the Yukon Liberal Party banner in the November 2016 territorial election.

Her lawyer, Richard Fowler, asked for a five-day trial.

Goeppel’s charges stem from her use of proxy votes in the riding of Whitehorse Centre during the campaign.

The then-candidate organized proxy ballots for 10 homeless people, according to a Liberal party statement released one week before the Nov. 7 election.

Proxy votes are meant for people who have reason to believe they will be absent from the territory on voting day and advanced polling days.

Despite the controversy, now-Premier Sandy Silver did not drop Goeppel from the Liberal ticket.

Goeppel lost the riding to the incumbent, NDP Leader Liz Hanson.

Elections Yukon ended the use of proxy ballots after the election.

In February, the RCMP charged Goeppel with two counts of “aiding or abetting persons in making proxy applications that were not in accordance with Section 106 of the (Yukon Elections) Act,” and one count of “inducing persons to falsely declare on proxy application that they would be absent from the Yukon during the hours fixed for voting.”

Goeppel is the first person to be charged under the Yukon Elections Act.

The Whitehorse businesswoman has kept a low profile since being charged.

The maximum penalties for a finding of guilt under the Elections Act are a fine of $5,000, a jail sentence of one year, or both.

Neither Goeppel nor her Vancouver-based lawyer were present at the hearing on Friday. Fowler appeared by phone.

The dates of Goeppel’s trial will be determined on June 30.

Comments (3)

Up 21 Down 2

CJ on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm

BB, I don't think this is ridiculous at all. The alleged offense is quite insidious, as the action has the appearance of a good deed, while in fact it undermines voters' autonomy. It's really troubling that someone running for office can have so little understanding of voters' rights and their own boundaries.

It's all too common for local politicians to be condescending about voters, while in fact having no understanding of the legislation. If it takes enforcement of the election legislation to make them take it seriously, then that needs to happen.

I do sympathize in that this is going to cost her financially and in other ways, no matter what the legal outcome is. I think Sandy Silver should have had her step down. Ministers have to resign for less important reasons and it might have kinder in the long run, as well as instructive.

Up 8 Down 8

Just Say'in on Jun 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Hmmmmm Interesting. The law is the law unless you are Liberal with your interpretation. Pun intended.

Up 7 Down 18

BB on Jun 12, 2017 at 8:13 pm

This is ridiculous. The first person ever to be charged under the elections act, and for a 'crime' against proxy voting protocol, a protocol that is being eliminated due to the general confusion surrounding it, and yes, it's potential for abuse deliberate or otherwise.

How many other people over the past hundred years have made mistakes or purposefully pulled stunts, including some that are even written about they were so well known. But the men of the day got away with it all.

With all the garbage that goes on, this is the one single event that the RCMP or elections people in all these decades, have decided to pursue. Why? They may be correct to do so. I guess the question could be, regarding all the other activities over the years where NO action was taken, Why now?

My opinion? To avoid the potential downsides, to get out of the media, and yes, to acknowledge that she was WRONG to do what she did, Tamara should probably have plead guilty very early on and just moved on.

Politics is a dirty game. That's how I'm left feeling about all this.

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