The Canadian Situation on Voter Fraud
Election fraud has become a major issue in Canada. There have been allegations of the Conservative government affecting vote results by using robocalls (automated calls) to send voters to a different polling station. The issue is presently under investigation by Elections Canada.
According to the National Post:
"OTTAWA — The IP address used to send misleading robocalls to Guelph voters on election day was the same address used by a worker from the campaign office of local Conservative candidate Marty Burke, Elections Canada investigators believe.
The Internet Protocol address — like an Internet phone number — was used by campaign worker Andrew Prescott to arrange legitimate calls through RackNine, the Edmonton voice broadcasting firm.
But the same IP address was also used to arrange the fraudulent “Pierre Poutine” calls that pretended to be from Elections Canada and sent hundreds of electors to the wrong polling stations, Elections Canada alleges in court documents.
RackNine records provided to Elections Canada showed that Prescott’s account had been accessed from a Rogers IP address in Guelph, 220.127.116.11.
Thousands of calls were made to Elections Canada with similar complaints across the country. Voters feel disenfranchised and for obvious reason call the results of the election into question.
U.S. situation and the Voter ID debate
In the United States an emotional debate is raging on whether or not voter ID is a necessary evil. For the proponents, primarily Republicans, it is a no-brainer and they feel that this is the only way to avoid voter fraud. Some states are willing to issue ID cards free of charge.
On the other side of the issue, mostly Democrats, it is argued that voter IDs are merely a way to suppress minority voters and in some cases reached back to the Jim Crow law, which were overturned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Needless to say, the United States has had allegations of voter fraud, starting with registration of dead people,and others. Not very many cases have been proven in a court of law. There is also the Election of 2000, involving the hanging chads in Florida, which after several recounts ended up being decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. The election was ruled in favor of George W. Bush. Democrats believe that the election was stolen by a partisan decision of the court. No matter what you believe, the U.S. system is far from perfect.
People have died to get free elections, as has been demostrated recently during the events of the Arab Spring. It is, therefore, imperative that elections should be almost bullet proof to fraud and those of us living in western democracies have to get it right.
The right to vote for eligible voters should be sacred and protected to ensure that all eligible votes count.
Administration of Federal votes in Canada and the US
Federal elections in Canada are administered by the federal government through Elections Canada. The department is responsible for the polling station and registration of eligible voters.
Canada has a permanent voters list, which has been established through enumerations, with Elections Canada personnel canvassing households and registering eligible voters. This is confirmed, prior to an election, by sending cards to registered voters, asking for confirmation and advising voters which polling station to use.
At the polling station, voters identifiy themselves, their name is verified with the voters list before behing handed a ballot.
Voters can still be registered at the polling station as long as they meet the eligibility criteria and can provide identification. The voter identification requirements to vote are highlighted with three options:
1. A government issued photo ID (i.e. drivers licence)
2. Two original pieces of identification, with one showing your name and the other your address (i.e. Health Card and Hydro Bill)
3. Take an oath and have an elector who knows you vouch for you. This person must have identification and must be from the same division as you. The person can only vouch for one person (i.e. a neighbour or your roomate) Source: Elections Canada
The United States relies on a complex federal system of government, where the national government is central; but where state and local governments also exercise authority over matters that are not reserved for the federal government. State and local governments have varying degrees of independence in how they organize elections within their jurisdictions. Source: america.gov
While voters can find voter registration forms at motor vehicle, public offices and libraries that must be mailed in, there are also organized voter drives, which allow political campaigns to register voters.
"A voter registration drive is an effort, often undertaken by a political campaign, political party, or other outside groups (partisan and non-partisan), that seeks to register to vote those who are eligible but not registered. Sometimes these drives are undertaken for partisan purposes, and target specific demographic groups that are likely to vote for one candidate or other; on the other hand, such drives are sometimes undertaken by non-partisan groups and targeted more generally.
On October 4, 2004, a voter registration drive in Austin, Texas led by the Travis County Democratic Party registered over 12,000 people to vote in less than 24 hours." Wikipedia"
While there will never be a perfect system that will rid the administration of elections of all fraud, it behooves us that we get the administration as fraudless as possible.
Voter registration drives and the decentralized administration of federal elections seem to open themselves to fraud. The preference would be a federally administered system, with uniform rules across the country. Voter registration drives by political campaigns and partisan organizations seem to leave themselves open to fraud, either by design or accident.
It may be impossible to change that system in the US, because of the state delegate system that decides U.S. presidential elections. It seems odd though that individual States Attorneys General have the final call on their state's elections.
The bottom line is that federal elections should be controlled by a federal agency, which makes the final call.
The last word
Elections will never be completely fraud-free but to set an example we must have a more bulletproof way to assure voter confidence in both Canada and the United States.
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