The marathon election campaign will be a test of more than voters’ patience and attention span. It will be a test of the Fair Elections Act, the controversial and sweeping legislation that has introduced changes to how Canadians prove they are eligible to vote, the way elections are financed and how voting shenanigans are investigated. It puts more money in the pockets of political parties for a longer campaign, while capping how much third parties can spend on election advertising. To its boosters, the changes are a necessary update, motivated in part by the need to guard against voting fraud. … However, critics of the legislation fear some of the changes will leave people in some particular groups — such as students, the homeless and First Nations — unable to vote. Critics argue that many of the changes were deliberately designed to skew the advantage in favour of the Conservatives on Election Day. “There’s no question it will have an impact in the current election,” said Garry Neil, executive director of the Council of Canadians.
… The so-called Fair Elections Act stirred controversy from the moment it was introduced in February 2014. At the time, Poilievre said the law would put “special interests on the sidelines and rule-breakers out of business.”
But academics, students and other concerned groups came forward to warn that the changes would actually make it harder for some Canadians to cast a ballot.
For example, the law prohibits the use of the voter information card as a document that can be used as proof of residency. This has sparked concerns that some voters — notably students living away from home, seniors in long-term care homes and aboriginals — may lack the necessary identification, which must show their address, to vote.