Salvadorans go to the polls on Sunday to elect new legislators and local officials in a tight contest between the ruling Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, FMLN, and the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance, ARENA, for control of the Legislative Assembly. Voters in El Salvador will also elect 262 new mayors, some 3,000 municipal council members and 20 country representatives for the Central American Parliament. For the first time, voters will be able to select individual candidates from any party rather than being forced to vote for a single party with an established list of candidates. Voters can still opt to simply choose a party.
Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.
Two advocacy groups are asking the courts to set aside new Conservative election rules that they say will make it more difficult for thousands of Canadians to vote in this year’s federal election. The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students have filed evidence to support a constitutional challenge of last year’s legislation, dubbed the Fair Elections Act by the Harper government. “The very legitimacy of the government is at issue if these rules stand, in our submission,” lawyer Steven Shrybman told a news conference Monday. The groups say new voter identification rules contravene Section 3 of the charter, which states everyone has the right to vote, as well as the equality provisions in the Constitution. The office of Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre did not respond to a request for comment on the court challenge.
Political parties in El Salvador formally wrapped up their campaigns Wednesday ahead of local and legislative elections schedule for March 1, 2015. The close of the campaign period gives three days for the population to decide their vote without the influence of the publicity campaigns of the parties. Electors in Latin America’s smallest country will head to the polls to elect mayors as well as representatives to the country’s Legislative Assembly.
Future elections are one step closer to including e-ballots as Edmonton’s executive committee voted Tuesday to petition the province to allow online voting. A brief report was brought to the committee at the request of Coun. Andrew Knack outlining what it would take for the city to include internet voting for future elections. “There’s no foolproof system,” admitted Knack, a proponent of online voting, in response to concerns raised about the potential threats that web-based elections may pose. Computer programmer Chris Cates voiced those concerns to the committee. “I see the Internet as full of risks,” Cates said. “In the long run, something is going to happen.” He referred to issues that were found in the online voting that the Alberta PC Party used when choosing Jim Prentice to lead them as an example of what can go wrong and warned that one person could seriously jeopardize the system. He added a recount would be relatively impossible because no paper ballots would be available to count.
Canada: Chief electoral officer hopes public remains vigilant over political dirty tricks | Calgary Herald
The upcoming federal election will see tougher rules around the use of robocalls, but Canada’s chief electoral officer hopes greater public awareness will help stamp out improper use of automated calls and other political dirty tricks. Fraudulent robocalls to direct voters to the wrong polling station in the 2011 election in Guelph helped lead to new rules requiring political parties and service providers to register with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) before contacting voters. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand said in an interview that Elections Canada will be watching closely for abuse of any robocalls on election day, set for Oct. 19 under the federal fixed election date law. But he said there are also other potential issues to watch for, including false Facebook and Twitter accounts and the risk of someone hacking into party or Elections Canada computer systems.
Fifteen hours after the national polls closed in St. Kitts and Nevis, confusion over the outcome continues as the supervisor of elections said he would not disclose final results. The opposition Team Unity appealed Tuesday for “calm” after the state-owned radio and television station reported that there would be no more announcements about the results of Monday’s general election. “Let us be calm, your duly expressed will, will have life and substance,” Team Unity leader Timothy Harris said in a radio broadcast. “Clearly, the public know there has now been a movement for change from the results that have been made available to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. Clearly, what the supervisor is purporting to do cannot be done and will not be sanctioned by right thinking people in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Harris said.
A researcher looking at internet voting says older Sudburians were more likely to use the internet to cast a ballot in the last municipal elections. Sudbury was one of 47 Ontario municipalities to use the internet in the October vote for mayor and council. The research director at the Centre for E-Democracy in Toronto said the results of questionnaires show more than half of internet voters in Sudbury in October were older — between 45 and 64 years old. Only 15 per cent were 34 years old and younger.
According to a study, more people used Internet voting during the last municipal election than ever before, but the relatively new method of marking a ballot shouldn’t be regarded as a panacea to improve voter turnout and political engagement. “Of the 97 (Ontario) municipalities that used Internet voting in 2014, voter turnout increased in 52 communities and decreased in 44 from 2010,” explained Dr. Nicole Goodman, research director with the Centre for e-Democracy, which helped fund the Internet Voting Project (www.internetvotingproject.com). Results of the study, which included survey feedback from Internet voters in 43 municipalities, including Cambridge, will be released online next week. Goodman shared highlights during a webinar this past Thursday (Jan. 29) afternoon.
Canada: Ontarians like online voting, but turnout boost may be minor, study suggests | The Globe and Mail
Voters and election administrators were satisfied with online ballots in many of last fall’s Ontario municipal races, according to a new study, but the digital shift’s impact on declining turnout appears to be modest. Ninety-seven municipalities across Ontario used online voting in October, most for the first time, in addition to traditional in-person voting and mail-in ballot options. Half of the municipalities participated in a study by the Internet Voting Project, which surveyed voters, candidates and election administrators. Preliminary results of the study are being released in a webinar Thursday afternoon.
A hostile and dangerous atmosphere is being created to thwart journalism in Guatemala ahead of elections, the Guatemalan Journalists Association, or APG, has warned. Perpetrators hope to curb access to information and discredit journalists and columnists, the APG said in a Jan. 21 statement by its Press Freedom Committee. As examples, the APG mentioned the cases of Juan Luis Font, editor of the weekly magazine Contrapoder, Spanish journalist Pedro Trujillo, a columnist with the morning daily Prensa Libre, and José Rubén Zamora, president of the daily El Periódico. Reporting on the communiqué, Agence France Presse pointed out that Font and Trujillo have been criminally charged after criticizing Manuel Baldizón, a presidential hopeful in the September elections and a favorite in opinion polls. Baldizón seeks the presidential nomination of the center-right Libertad Democrática Renovada party, which he founded in 2010.