North America

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

Canada: Toronto cancels plan to allow online, phone voting for disabled citizens in 2014 | Toronto Star

Toronto’s government has cancelled a plan to allow disabled residents to vote online and by phone in the 2014 election, saying there is not enough time to build and test the system. Council only approved the online and phone voting in February, a month into the campaign period. The city clerk said she had the authority to call off the project “to protect the integrity of the election” if key deadlines were not met. She did so this month. “The clerk engaged independent third-party experts, including an accessibility and usability expert, two security and cryptographic experts, an external auditing firm and a testing firm,” city officials wrote in a report to council. “There is insufficient time for the third-party experts to conduct a full assessment of the security and accessibility of the (system) before the start of Internet and telephone voting registration on September 8, 2014.” Read More

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Canada: Expat voting: Court denies Ottawa’s fight for 5-year rule for voters abroad | CBC News

Canadians living abroad, regardless of when they left the country, will be able to cast ballots in next week’s federal byelections in Ontario and Alberta. An Ontario Court of Appeal judge made the ruling today, denying the federal government’s request for a stay of a lower court ruling that would have extended voting rights to anyone who had lived outside the country for more than five years. Monday’s decision comes just days before voters were to head to the polls on June 30 for four byelections — two in Alberta, two in Ontario. It paves the way for about 1.4 million longtime Canadian expats to vote alongside others who moved abroad more recently. Read More

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Canada: ‘Fair Elections Act’ will be challenged in court by Council of Canadians, Federation of Students | National Post

The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students announced Thursday they will challenge the Harper government’s new election bill, hours before Gov. Gen. David Johnston was to grant royal assent, making it law. The council and federation will go to Superior Court of Ontario to challenge the law on the grounds that it violates section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the “right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.” The two groups intend to challenge voter-ID provisions that critics say will make it harder for students, aboriginals and seniors to vote, and changes that limit the mandate of the chief electoral officer to promote voting. Read More

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Canada: Elections chief pleased with changes to voting bill | Toronto Star

Canada’s election chief says he is pleased with the “significant improvements” made to the Fair Elections Act — a bill he originally slammed as a serious threat to Canadians’ voting rights. “I think there’s been substantive improvements to the legislation,” Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand told reporters on Thursday — his first public pronouncements since the Conservative government bowed to critics and made amendments to the legislation. The big improvements, Mayrand said, revolve around closing political-fundraising loopholes and allowing voters to continue to prove their identity through the vouching system at the ballot box. These were among his top concerns when he told the Star earlier this year that no election reform would be better than the first draft of the Fair Elections Act. Read More

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Canada: Feds appeal expat voting rights decision | Canadian Press

A court decision that handed the right to vote to more than one million Canadians who have lived outside the country for more than five years will be appealed, the Conservative government said Monday. In addition, Ottawa said it would seek a stay of the ruling, dashing hopes some expatriates might have had of voting in the byelections scheduled for the end of the month.”Non-residents should have a direct and meaningful connection to Canada and to their ridings in order to vote in federal elections,” Pierre Poilievre, minister of state responsible for democratic reform, said in a statement. ”For over two decades, Canada’s policy has limited to five years the length of time someone can be abroad and still vote. That is fair and reasonable.” The application to put the ruling on hold pending the appeal is expected to be heard on June 20. Read More

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Canada: Expatriates’ Voting Rights Decision To Be Appealed By Tories | Canadian Press

A court decision that handed the right to vote to more than one million Canadians who have lived outside the country for more than five years will be appealed, the Conservative government said Monday. In addition, Ottawa said it would seek a stay of the ruling, dashing hopes some expatriates might have had of voting in the byelections scheduled for the end of the month. ”Non-residents should have a direct and meaningful connection to Canada and to their ridings in order to vote in federal elections,” Pierre Poilievre, minister of state responsible for democratic reform, said in a statement. ”For over two decades, Canada’s policy has limited to five years the length of time someone can be abroad and still vote. That is fair and reasonable.” Read More

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Canada: Switch to e-voting still an issue in Brockton | The Post

Some Brockton residents are upset with council’s decision to go with electronic voting in the municipal election this fall. Council has approved a contract with Dominion Voting to provide telephone and Internet voting at a cost of $1.70 for each 7,600 potential voters. Pauline Gay and Barb Klages left last Monday’s council meeting critical of council’s decision. They want the municipality to stick with paper ballots. ”I’m disappointed because they don’t seem to consider the security of my computer if I choose to vote with it . . . and there is no way to do a valid recount with an electronic vote,” said Klages. During the meeting council heard from former IBM employee and computer scientist Barbara Simons, who addressed council by teleconference from California. She cited cost, lack of security and the inability to have a recount in a close election as reasons to reject electronic voting. She also said Internet voting doesn’t increase voter participation. Read More

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Canada: Both sides claim victory as Fair Elections Act clears the Commons | Montreal Gazette

Late Tuesday, MPs stood in the House of Commons to vote on third reading of Bill C-23, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to speedily pass it, leaving only the formality of royal assent. On Thursday, when the government brought in time allocation to limit debate on the bill, Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre declared victory. “The Canadian people widely support this bill,” he said. “It is a very popular piece of legislation. We won the debate on it and now we will pass it into law.” On Monday, the NDP said they won the debate, rallying opposition to C-23, forcing the government to accept changes. “What was at the beginning a very bad bill is simply today only a bad bill,” NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said. Either way, the long, strange process by which the Fair Elections Act — or Unfair Elections Act, as the opposition calls it — is coming to an end, and the most significant piece of legislation in this session is about to be law, not quite as either side intended. Read More

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Canada: Controversial election bill expected to pass Tuesday | Ottawa Citizen

The House of Commons is poised to pass contentious legislation Tuesday that will overhaul Canada’s election law — a move the governing Conservatives defend as sensible but which the opposition says is designed to keep the Tories from being caught cheating in the 2015 election. The so-called Fair Elections Act is certain to pass third reading in the Commons because Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Tories hold a majority in the chamber. MPs were expected to spend much of Monday voting on proposed amendments, including 45 from the government itself, after experts and the opposition heavily criticized the original bill. After the House passes it, the bill will go to the Senate, where the Conservatives also hold a majority, and where it is expected to be given a relatively quick review before being approved. But the political consequences for Harper could be long-lasting, as his critics continued on Monday to allege that the Tories are trying to rig the electoral system in their favour. Read More

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Canada: Conservative Senators to support amended elections overhaul bill | Hill Times

Conservative Senators plan to support the government’s recent amendments to the Fair Elections Act when it reaches the Senate later this week for what is likely to be a swift passage of the controversial electoral reform legislation. Conservative Senate Whip Elizabeth Marshall told The Hill Times that there were concerns within the Conservative Senate caucus before the bill was amended by the Procedure and House Affairs Committee earlier this month, but she’s hearing a lot less dissent over the legislation now that it’s headed for the Upper Chamber. “The Senators were talking before the hearings, but compared to what I heard before the report, and what I heard after… it’s subsided now with the [Senate] report, but I would expect that when the bill comes if there are any other issues or concerns they’ll be raised, because the Senators do tend to speak quite freely amongst ourselves if we have concerns,” Sen. Marshall said in an interview. Read More

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