Nuns concerned after being prevented from voting
Two Roman Catholic nuns in Cambridge are concerned after they were prevented from voting in the November 2010 municipal election because of their vow of poverty.
Sister St. Henry Moloney says "We were all very surprised, and very disappointed, such a thing had not happened before."
At least three sisters say they went to cast their ballot for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board trustee and were denied the chance to vote by an election worker.
Sister Michael Daniel says "They had said because I take a vow of poverty, I don't pay taxes, so no taxes come out of my pocket, so therefore I don't get a choice of what school board to vote for."
But the rules say that to vote for a school board trustee, you only have to be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old and a Roman Catholic.
Linda Fegan, director of corporate communications and marketing for the City of Cambridge, says "We really believe a miscommunication arose, and we will rectify it with increased training."
The sisters say they wish they had questioned the polling staff sooner, because even months after the election, they remain disappointed their voice was not heard.
Sister Michael Daniel says "We really wanted a very good person in for the separate Catholic school board. Because I am a really strong Catholic and that was really important to me, so for me not to have had a choice at all was really upsetting."
The school board calls the incident disappointing. Especially since it already faces a challenge trying keep track of its members.
Every time a Catholic board supporter moves, they are defaulted back to the public board, and the fewer supporters, the fewer trustees they can have.
John Shewchuk, spokesperson for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, says "Everyone would understand that in a democracy, the more representation you have, the more ears you have to hear your concerns, the better off you are going to be."
The nuns say they did contact the city, but it was several weeks after the election, and they were told nothing could be done to correct the ballots this time.
However, they were able to fill out an amendment form that will ensure it doesn't happen again.