North America

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

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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Canada: Federal lawyers tell Supreme Court that existing voter ID laws are effective | The Globe and Mail

A previous round of Conservative voter identification rules enacted in 2007 effectively met Parliament’s need for electoral integrity without being too strict, federal lawyers argue in a brief to the Supreme Court. The attorney general’s submission to the country’s top court comes as the Harper government moves to further tighten voting restrictions under its controversial Fair Elections Act. The legislation – also known as Bill C-23 – marks the second time the Conservatives have moved on what they perceive to be an issue of voter fraud, and it comes while their first round of reforms is still being legally contested. Read More

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Canada: Long-term expat Canadians win voting rights | The Canadian Press

More than one million Canadians living abroad are now eligible to cast ballots in the next federal election after a court struck down a law stripping them of their voting rights. While mass murderers have the right to vote, long-term expats “who care deeply about Canada” do not have the right, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny said in his decision. Penny found part of the Canada Elections Act, which bars expatriates who have lived abroad for more than five years from voting, is unconstitutional. ”The (government) essentially argues that allowing non-residents to vote is unfair to resident Canadians because resident Canadians live here and are, on a day-to-day basis, subject to Canada’s laws and live with the consequences of Parliament’s decisions.” Read More

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Panama: Incumbent’s Party Loses Presidency in Panama | New York Times

Panamanians, enjoying one of the fastest growing economies in the hemisphere but wary of corruption and growing executive power, rejected the governing party’s choice for president Sunday — on a ticket with the president’s wife for vice president — and instead hewed to tradition by electing an opposition candidate. Panama’s election commission declared the president-elect to be Juan Carlos Varela, who is vice president but broke with the governing party in a rancorous falling out and was stripped of many of his duties. He captured 39 percent of the vote, with more than three-quarters of the ballots counted.  Read More

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Canada: Fair Elections Act back on fast track after 45 amendments submitted | The Globe and Mail

The divisive Fair Elections Act has resumed its fast-track passage through Parliament, after the federal government submitted 45 changes in a bid to quell opposition to the bill. The amendments were submitted to the committee and obtained by The Globe as MPs returned Monday from a two-week break, and are among roughly 275 presented by MPs of all parties. They all must be considered and voted on by Thursday evening – a short window that all but guarantees only cursory consideration of many changes. The government’s 45 proposed amendments include backing down on both the elimination of vouching and a proposed campaign-finance change that critics said would have opened loophole. They also include elements that raise new questions – strengthening a new limit on the Chief Electoral Officer’s term, by saying no CEO can be reappointed after a 10-year term, and making no mention of a previous promise to back down on expanding partisan appointments of poll workers. Read More

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