North America

Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.

Canada: Dropping Nova Scotia’s voting age? Change proposed by Liberal advocates |

Encouraging youth to get out and vote is something Canada has been trying to do for years, but one group in Nova Scotia is hoping they can change the rules to get people as young as 16 out casting ballots in provincial elections. Evan Price is president of the Truro Liberal Association, a group lobbying to drop the voting age in Nova Scotia from 18 to 16 years old. “This is a conversation that’s revisited now and again and I think it’s time we take another look at it,” Price said. Read More


Haiti: Opposition Alliance Declining to Meet With OAS Mission | Associated Press

A Haitian opposition alliance is declining to meet with a regional mission that traveled to this troubled Caribbean nation to help ease a political crisis that has postponed elections indefinitely. Samuel Madistin, spokesman for the “Group of Eight” that includes second-place presidential candidate Jude Celestin, asserted Monday that the Organization of American States’ mission was “not welcome” and was “unable to play any role as a mediator. The OAS doesn’t help Haiti come out of crisis. They create more crisis,” Madistin said, pointing to its role in 2010 elections that saw Celestin get eliminated from a runoff after his reported second-place finish was challenged by foreign observers complaining of irregularities. Read More

Canada: Candidate changes name to appear as ‘none of the above’ on by-election ballot | Daily Mail

Canadians will be able to vote for ‘none of the above’ in an upcoming by-election after a candidate legally changed his name. Father-of-two Sheldon Bergson paid $137 to officially change his name to Above Znoneofthe in time for an Ontario election on February 11. As names on the ballot papers are listed alphabetically by their surname first, he will appear underneath the list of other candidates, as Znoneofthe Above. The candidate explained that he had changed his name to try and offer fed up voters an alternative to the main parties.  Read More


Haiti: Growing crisis as election chief resigns | AFP

The chairman of Haiti’s electoral council has submitted his resignation to President Michel Martelly, a week after presidential and legislative elections were indefinitely delayed. Pierre-Louis Opont said in a letter dated Thursday that events beyond his control had “prevented me from carrying out my mission, which was to conduct elections meant to permit Parliament to return on January 11, 2016 and an elected president to be installed on February 7, 2016.” Opont’s resignation, following that of four of nine other members of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), renders the panel impotent. Read More


Haiti: After canceling its presidential election, Haiti heads toward chaos | The Washington Post

Before he went into politics, Haitian President Michel Martelly was a nationally renowned pop star whose stage antics included mooning his adoring fans. As president, Mr. Martelly, whose five years in office are drawing to a close, has treated his constituents, Haiti’s 10 million citizens, with no more dignity or respect. Mr. Martelly is largely to blame for having led the country into electoral and political chaos, with no prospect of electing a successor to replace him by Feb. 7, as the Haitian constitution requires. Having governed as a virtual autocrat for much of his term, as a consequence of failing to hold timely elections to replace term-limited local officials and members of parliament, Mr. Martelly was instrumental in creating the conditions for a shambolic first round of presidential elections, in October. Read More

Haiti: Chaos and compas | The Economist

Michel Martelly, Haiti’s president, had planned to mark the end of his term in office by going back to his old job as a popular singer of compas, a Haitian form of merengue. The idea was to perform once more as “Sweet Micky” at the Carnival in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, which begins on February 7th, the day he is due to step down as president. The problem is that there is no one to succeed him. The second round of the presidential election, scheduled for January 24th after two postponements, was called off two days before the vote. Jude Célestin, the runner-up in the first round of voting in October, had condemned the ballot as a “ridiculous farce” and refused to campaign further. Thousands of his supporters, and those of candidates who lost in the first round, took to the streets to demand that the run-off be cancelled. Haiti’s electoral council said the danger of violence was too great for it to go ahead. Read More


Haiti: Leadership is in limbo as political crisis looms | Los Angeles Times

With Haiti’s presidential elections postponed again and just over a week left until the current leader’s term expires, various political factions are negotiating to avert a constitutional crisis that could leave the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation with nobody clearly in charge. The vote was supposed to occur last Sunday, but election authorities last week postponed it indefinitely due to security concerns, including attacks that had occurred on election offices. It was the third time the vote — a runoff originally scheduled for Dec. 27 — has been delayed. President Michel Martelly must leave office by Feb. 7. The crisis threatens to throw the poor and troubled Caribbean country back into the instability and political morass that it has long struggled against. Read More

Protesters march during a demonstration against the government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Haiti: After election collapse, Haiti edges toward interim government | Reuters

President Michel Martelly is determined to leave office on the first day of Haiti’s carnival in two weeks even though he has no replacement, the prime minister said on Monday, making it likely an interim government will guide the country to elections. Haiti was due to choose Martelly’s replacement last Sunday, but the two-man race was postponed indefinitely after opposition candidate Jude Celestin refused to participate over alleged fraud that sparked protests and violence. “It is clear that we won’t have elections before the departure of President Michel Martelly scheduled for Feb. 7,” Prime Minister Evans Paul said. Read More


Haiti: Presidential election cancelled as violence erupts | Associated Press

Haiti has called off its presidential election just two days before it was due to take place over concerns of escalating violence sparked by the opposition candidate’s refusal to take part in a vote he said was riddled with fraud. The Provisional Electoral Council decided to postpone the runoff because there is “too much violence throughout the country,” council president Pierre-Louis Opont said at a news conference. In recent days, a number of election offices across the impoverished nation have been burned and the capital has been rocked by violent opposition protests calling for a halt to the vote. The council did not set a new date for the vote. It also did not say whether an interim government would take power after 7 February, when president Michel Martelly is required to leave office under the Constitution, or if he would remain until a replacement is elected. Read More

Jamaica: $250 million spent for elections | Jamaica Observer

THE Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) says the Government has already spent $250 million on activities related to a general election that has not yet been held, and that a significant portion of those funds have gone down the drain. Opposition-nominated ECJ Commissioner, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson made the claim yesterday during the debate on a Bill to amend the Representation of the People Act (2015) to reform the way political parties are financed. He told the Upper House that: “We fully recognise that the prime minister has the constitutional right to call an election whenever she decides to do so within the constitutional limit (and) the electoral commission takes signals from what is said publicly and privately submitted a budget for an election which was anticipated to be held before the end of 2015. As a result, monies were presented to the Electoral Commission and from the sum presented so far, $250 million has been spent. A significant portion of that money has been lost because it has been used for training of workers, rental (of property) and so on.” Read More