North America

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

Canada: Progressive Conservatives scramble to resolve voting concerns as campaigns wind down | Calgary Herald

With just days to go before Progressive Conservatives cast their ballots for a new leader, the three candidates are crossing their fingers that problems with memberships will be resolved and trouble with a new electronic voting system will be avoided. Each of the leadership contenders acknowledge that their campaigns have seen numerous submitted memberships rejected by the party because they don’t match up exactly with the Elections Alberta voter’s list. Calgary-Hays MLA Ric McIver said his campaign has been busy dealing with membership rejections, working hard to “clean them up, one file at a time.” “It’s an issue for us. Absolutely. Large numbers, yes,” McIver said. Read More


Canada: Guelph case sees Election Canada pledge to make polling station accessible | The Record

Elections Canada will make sure all polling stations in the next federal election are barrier free after reaching a settlement with a Guelph man who filed a human rights complaint. The complaint was settled through mediation and will ensure all polling stations have either a power assisted door or someone there to help anyone with accessibility issues enter the polling station. ”This will be a great step forward for all persons with disabilities in Canada,” said Matt Wozenilek of Guelph. Wozenilek, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a rare neurological disease, took Elections Canada to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal after he went to cast his ballot in the 2011 federal election and found there was no automatic door opener or anyone to help him get into the polling station. A passerby eventually helped him into the polling station. Wozenilek felt this is a violation of his human rights and an act of discrimination. Read More

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Canada: Weekend voting and online ballots: Election Ontario considers the future | canada.com

How would you like to vote on weekends? And online or by phone? Those are just a couple of ideas Elections Ontario floats in its annual report released Friday*. The annual report does not cover the recent general election, and much of it would have been written before the writs were drawn up and Ontarians re-elected Premier Kathleen Wynne and sent her Liberals back to office for a fourth term. And though voter turnout ticked up slighty to 52.1 per cent in 2014 from 48.2 per cent in 2011, the number is still low and Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa offers a few ideas to get Ontarians back to the polls. “Other democracies hold elections on weekends and their experience suggests that should Ontario follow suit, voter turnout may increase,” the annual report states. It also points out that schools are often used as polling locations and moving elections to non-school days would facilitate that process. The report also calls for a rethink of the traditional ballot box. Read More

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Canada: Conservative staffer Michael Sona guilty of robocalls voter obstruction | Toronto Star

Former Conservative party staffer Michael Sona has been convicted of trying to prevent voters from casting ballots during the 2011 federal election. Sona, 25, was the only person charged in what has come to be known as the robocalls scandal, in which automated calls were set up to target voters in Guelph — most of them Liberal supporters — with misleading instructions on where to vote. After a long recounting of the trial’s testimony, Superior Court Justice Gary Hearn said he was convinced “well beyond a reasonable doubt” that Sona was guilty. Sona hung his head and family members fought back tears as Hearn explained his decision. Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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