North America

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

Canada: Cybersecurity chief says jury still out on whether Russian disinformation bots are having any impact | The Province

‘Not everything is blatantly false,’ says Scott Jones. ‘Sometimes it’s a slight manipulation of the facts — just enough to sow division’. The head of Canada’s new cybersecurity centre says the jury is still out on whether state-sponsored disinformation campaigns are actually having any impact on voters’ intentions, but that Canadians should still use a “critical eye” when they read news online. “There’s a lot of research going on in terms of what the effect could be,” said Scott Jones, the head of the Communications Security Establishment’s newly-established Cyber Centre, at a press conference last week. Read More

Canada: The next federal election will be a target for Russian meddling: Sajjan | Montreal Gazette

With a federal election less than a year away, Canada’s defence minister is warning voters they will be targeted by online cyber-attacks and fake news as Russia steps up its efforts to undermine western democracies. “We have taken this into account very seriously in our defence policy,” Harjit Sajjan said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “We need to further educate our citizens about the impact of fake news. No one wants to be duped by anybody.” Sajjan made the comments while attending a defence and security conference in Halifax, where experts, military officers and politicians representing democracies from around the world spent a great deal of time discussing cyber-warfare. “When we stand up for human rights, and when we stand up … to nations like Russia who are going against the rules-based order … you become a target,” Sajjan said, adding that Canada’s decision to protest Russia’s annexation of Crimea has also raised Russia’s ire. Read More

Canada: Bill won’t stop hackers from sowing election confusion: watchdogs | iPolitics

Canada’s top two elections officials say a bill to modernize election laws will make it difficult to stop computer hackers from sowing chaos that confuses voters, deterring them from casting ballots and undermining confidence in the electoral system. Bill C-76, omnibus legislation to reform election laws, creates a new offence of computer interference in response to attempts by hackers in other countries to undermine the electoral process. While he supports the additional offence, chief electoral officer Stéphane Perrault says the bill requires proof that the offender intended to affect the result of the election. He says that qualifier will “greatly restrict the application of the new offence,” letting off the hook hackers who simply sow confusion. Read More

Canada: End online voting — it’s not worth the risk | Kitchener Post

Online voting has been used in Canada for about 15 years, but you’d never know it judging by the most recent municipal election. That looked like our first swing at cyber voting, as if we were still trying to iron out the wrinkles. But those were no mere wrinkles. Those weren’t glitches, or hiccups. That was an absolute meltdown, an unmitigated disaster for which inexperience is not an excuse. Though the meltdown affected more municipalities than our own, nowhere was the impact greater or more embarrassing than in Waterloo Region, where an entire community was left in limbo for almost 48 hours as it waited for the winner of the top political job to be announced. Yes, it’s easy to second guess in the aftermath of such a massive malfunction and the enormity of the disaster leaves plenty to criticize. But with the credibility of an election at stake, the scrutiny is warranted and analysis is necessary. Read More

Canada: Election night glitch points to the ‘wild west’ of online voting, says cybersecurity expert | Ottawa Citizen

Online voters in 51 Ontario municipalities had either a few more hours or an extra day to vote after a 90-minute computer portal slowdown on election night. Affected municipalities in Eastern Ontario included Renfrew, Laurentian Valley, Pembroke, Petawawa, Whitewater, Belleville and Kingston — all clients of Colorado-based Dominion Voting. Dominion is one of four companies that supplied Ontario municipalities with services in this municipal election. On Monday night, Dominion posted a statement saying the glitch was the result of a Toronto co-location provider that placed an unauthorized limit on incoming voting traffic of about one-tenth of the system’s designated bandwidth. The company was unaware of the glitch until it was alerted by the municipalities that are its customers. In those 90 minutes, voters experienced slow response time and system timeouts. This points to problems with the “wild west” of online voting in Canada, said a cybersecurity expert. Read More

Canada: Online voting causes headaches in 51 Ontario cities and towns | The Toronto Star

Glitches with a private online voting company impacted local elections in 51 cities and towns across the province on election day, causing at least six to extend voting hours until Tuesday in an example one expert says highlights the wild west of internet voting. Dominion Voting blamed the “slow traffic” that voters experienced just after 6 p.m. Monday on a third-party Toronto-based data centre placing an “unauthorized limit on incoming voting traffic,” in a press release sent to affected municipalities. … Aleksander Essexan assistant professor of software engineering at Western University, in London, Ont., said Dominion Voting is essentially “blaming it on their subcontractor,” adding it’s not clear why the entire website appeared to shut down temporarily. But the incident highlights bigger concerns with online voting, the use of which has been steadily growing in Ontario.  “Wild west is exactly the term I’ve been using,” he said. “It absolutely is dangerous for democracy.” Read More

Canada: Voting times extended in several Ontario municipalities due to online voting glitches | Global News

Several municipalities in Ontario are extending online and in-person voting times after problems with their online voting systems. The glitch affected several municipalities that use the Dominion Voting System, which struggled to process the traffic on its website, according to Kingston city officials. “The City of Kingston is one of a number of municipalities that have been affected by online voting issues. Internet voting became inaccessible at approximately 5:45 p.m. this evening,” read a public notice from the City of Kingston, which added that in-person voting times would be extended by an hour and 15 minutes to 9:15 p.m. Read More

Canada: Liberals strike deal with Conservatives to raise pre-election spending limits | The Globe and Mail

The federal Liberal government will raise the maximum amounts political parties can spend in the run-up to an election after striking a deal with the Opposition Conservatives to allow the government’s election bill to move ahead. The bill’s proposed spending limits during what will be called the “pre-election” period were a major concern of the Conservatives, who generally lead the way when it comes to fundraising and would be in a position to outspend their competitors in the weeks before an election campaign. The Conservatives had attacked the pre-election spending limit as a blatant attempt by the Liberals to tilt the electoral rules in their favour, by limiting the ability of opposition parties to advertise during a period when the governing party continues to have access to government-funded travel and other avenues for self-promotion. Read More

Canada: Trudeau government beefs up legislation to fight federal election interference | Associated Press

The Trudeau government is beefing up legislation aimed at making it easier for Canadians to vote and harder for foreign entities to interfere in federal elections. It has sponsored a number of amendments to Bill C-76, including one that would ban advocacy groups from ever using money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns. When the bill was introduced last spring, the government proposed only to prohibit the use of foreign money by so-called third parties during the weeks immediately prior to an election being called and during the actual campaign, known as the pre-writ and writ periods. Read More

Canada: New cybersecurity centre to look at election interference threats | Associated Press

A fresh look at Canada’s ability to defend against possible online threats to the next national election will be one of a new federal cybersecurity centre’s first tasks. An updated version of a groundbreaking report on lurking dangers to electoral integrity will be issued in the new year, said Scott Jones, head of the fledgling Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. The new federal body aims to be a clearinghouse of information, advice and guidance on threats for the public, Canadian businesses, and owners and operators of critical infrastructure, such as power grids and banking systems. “We want to be that trusted source of information for Canadians,” Jones said in an interview. Read More