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Marois expresses concern about possible voter fraud involving English-speakers

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois checks the view while campaigning on March 22 in Notre-Dame-du-Portage.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois says she's concerned about reports of possible voter fraud involving anglophone and allophones from outside the province trying to register in the Quebec election.

Marois says the PQ has asked for more details on the issue from Quebec's chief electoral officer.

Her comments follow a story on Saturday in Montreal's Le Devoir newspaper.

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The newspaper cites an electoral officer in a downtown Montreal riding who says many English-speakers and others whose first language is neither English nor French have recently tried to register to vote.

The electoral officer says some of the people didn't have proper documentation.

He called the situation "worrisome and abnormal."

"It's as if (Montreal's) Trudeau International Airport was wide open and we distributed free visas to anyone who came through, without question," Mathieu Vandal, the president of local electoral office in Montreal's Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, told Le Devoir.

The downtown riding is 75 per cent first-language French but is also home to a large number of university students.

Vandal says about half the people trying to register since last Monday were anglophone or allophone.

He resigned from his post on Friday, according to Le Devoir.

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Quebec's chief electoral office has not returned a request for comment from The Canadian Press.

Allegations surfaced earlier in the week that Quebec university students from elsewhere in Canada were unable to register in the April 7 election.

Dune Desormeaux, a fourth-year student at McGill who is originally from British Columbia, said Saturday he was turned away when he tried to register.

The 21-year-old said he brought the necessary identification but was told he couldn't vote because he was a student.

"I had anticipated having no problems," he said in an interview.

"I brought the documents requested — my picture ID and a proof of address. And basically I was told, after a reasonably long discussion, that I would not be eligible to vote because I was not domiciled in Quebec as they said."

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According to the website of Quebec's electoral office, to be eligible to vote a person must be a Canadian citizen and have lived in Quebec for six months.

They must also have the intention of making Quebec their "principal establishment," according to the Quebec civil code.

Since moving to the province, Desormeaux said he has only returned to British Columbia for a few weeks a year.

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