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.
Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Limited Internet and telephone voting will be available for Toronto’s upcoming municipal election, but only for residents with disabilities. The city said Thursday that the service will be available during advance voting from Oct. 14-19. “We are very excited to be conducting this pilot project,” city clerk Ulli Watkiss said in a statement. “It is important that our electoral services are accessible and create positive voting experiences for all. By providing greater choices we are working to make voting more accessible to persons with disabilities.”
The federal Conservative Party says it stands vindicated by Canada’s top elections watchdog after a three-year probe failed to produce evidence of a deliberate or widespread conspiracy to suppress votes through the use of automated or live robocalls in May 2011. However opposition critics say Yves Côté’s conclusion does not clear the governing party and only highlights the need for more investigative powers for the Commissioner of Canada Elections. Côté released a report Thursday after an exhaustive investigation into “deceptive communications,” or robocalls, that occurred across Canada in the last federal election and directed voters to the wrong poll station. The commissioner said that beyond the riding of Guelph — where a separate investigation is ongoing and one Conservative staffer, Michael Sona, has been charged — the complaints were “thinly scattered” across the country and no pattern or deliberate attempt to mislead voters could be determined.
Canada: Tories open to amending elections bill, except for voter ID requirement | The Globe and Mail
The final version of the government’s electoral reform bill will require all voters to show identification before they vote, Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre pledged, adding the Conservatives are nonetheless open to other changes. Speaking to an Economic Club of Canada audience in Ottawa on Thursday, the minister addressed one of the most hotly debated aspects of the proposed Fair Elections Act, saying average Canadians believe it is “common sense” to require that voters present ID – essentially, that vouching isn’t good for democracy. “We are open to improvements to this bill, and very soon the government will make clear which amendments it will support,” Mr. Poilievre told the luncheon guests. “But let me be clear on this point: The Fair Elections Act, in its final form, will require every single voter produce ID showing who they are before they vote.”
Canada: Fair Elections Act: Vouching is ‘problematic,’ Conservative Senator Linda Frum says | CTV News
A Conservative senator on the committee recommending changes to the controversial Fair Elections Act says she is convinced that vouching is “problematic,” and that alternatives to proof of identification must be found. A Senate committee made up primarily of Conservative members earlier this week recommended nine changes to the Harper government’s Fair Elections Act — an electoral reform bill proposed by Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre. But the committee did not recommend changes to one of Bill C-23’s most-controversial provisions, which would eliminate the practice of vouching — where one person can vouch for another if they don’t have proper ID — and the use of voter cards as a way for voters to prove their identity. “In our Senate report, we didn’t touch those provisions; we stood by them, we agree,” Senator Linda Frum told CTV’s Question Period. Frum said it is “reasonable” to ask voters to produce identification and proof of residence. “I’ve heard all the statements about how that can be difficult in some instances, but frankly, I think for most Canadians, it’s not problematic.”
Councillor Chris Peabody is concerned about the safety of internet voting. Peabody says he has been in contact with two computer specialists from M.I.T and Yale who feel the same way. After reviewing Brockton’s yet to be signed contract with Dominion Voting, Peabody says these experts have identified a number of concerns — including the fact Dominion Voting does not allow a third party to challenge the system.