North America

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

Canada: Petition to reverse Liberals’ electoral reform U-turn gains momentum | CBC

The man behind an online petition calling for the Liberal government to recommit to its electoral reform pledge says early signs of a flip-flop from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prompted him to launch the initiative months before last Wednesday’s announcement. Inspiring the petition was Justin Trudeau’s interview in Le Devoir on Oct. 19. “In that interview, he signalled electoral reform might not happen because, he said, support for it had waned,” petitioner Jonathan Cassels told CBC News. Cassels, who works in banking, said he often engages in political discussions via social media. But when he expressed concern over the prime minister’s words online, Cassels said he received dozens of responses. Read More

Canada: First-past-the-post electoral system advances ‘democratic values,’ says rookie Democratic Institutions Minister Gould | The Hill Times

A week after the Trudeau government scrapped its promise to change Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system in time for the next federal election, the new Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould defended the current voting system before the House Affairs Committee Tuesday, saying it “advances a number of democratic values. The first-past-the-post system may not be perfect, but no electoral system is. But it has served this country for 150 years and advances a number of democratic values Canadians hold dear, such as strong local representation, stability, and accountability,” said Ms. Gould (Burlington, Ont.) whose new mandate letter states that “changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate.” Read More

Canada: Elections Canada studies electronic blank ballot delivery | The Canadian Press

Elections Canada is exploring the potential of an electronic ballot delivery system to speed up the process for absentee voters. The agency is calling it a fact-finding exercise to learn more from potential suppliers on how to design a system that would allow voters unable or unwilling to vote on election day or at advance polls to download and print a ballot — instead of waiting for one to show up in the mail. “Elections Canada is seeking information on tools and technologies currently available in the market that could help improve the special ballot vote-by-mail service we currently offer,” Melanie Wise, a spokeswoman for the agency, wrote Monday in an email. Read More

Canada: Trudeau abandons pledge to reform Canada’s elections | Toronto Star

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abandoned his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system on Wednesday, claiming no consensus has been found on an alternative system. Only two months after recommitting to electoral reform, Trudeau told newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould that replacing the first-past-the-post system was no longer on the table. Trudeau’s decision shelves months of work by a special House of Commons committee, two separate public engagement and consultation exercises, numerous MP town hall meetings and one cross-country ministerial tour. Read More

Canada: Trudeau abandons electoral reform in reversal of Trudeau pledge | Reuters

Abandoning a major campaign promise, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government dropped plans on Wednesday to overhaul the country’s electoral system. The move, which prompted one opposition member of parliament to call Trudeau “a liar,” adds to pressure the Liberal Party prime minister is already facing for controversies surrounding cash-for-access fundraisers as well as an ethics probe into a vacation at a private island over the New Year’s holiday. Trudeau had promised during the 2015 election campaign that Canada would have a new voting system in place by the 2019 election, a reform expected to benefit smaller parties, such as the left-leaning Green Party, which holds only one seat in parliament. Read More

Haiti: OAS commends Haiti for concluding vote, notes low turnout | Associated Press

International monitors commended Haitian authorities on Monday for finishing an electoral cycle that started in 2015 but expressed concern over the low participation rate by voters. The Organization of American States had 77 observers monitoring a final round of legislative contests as well as long-overdue municipal elections held Sunday. In a preliminary report, the mission said holding local elections after 10 years was “an important milestone for the consolidation of democratic institutions in Haiti.” Read More

Canada: Online voting: We can ensure the research into how it happens is sound | Ottawa Citizen

Since the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) tabled its report in December, the national conversation has largely focused on potential changes to the electoral system. One of the committee’s more significant recommendations related to the future of online voting in Canada, however, has flown under the radar. The committee recommended that Elections Canada not adopt online voting at this time, but work with stakeholders to determine how election technologies can maintain electoral integrity and voter access, notably for persons with disabilities. This should not be dismissed as an insignificant recommendation as it has the potential to influence the modernization of voting in federal elections in Canada. While Elections Canada could certainly start work on this, development of online voting approaches in other jurisdictions has shown that working with experts – social and computer scientists – is a best practice. In Geneva, Switzerland, for example, the decision to leverage expert knowledge substantially improved the design of the online voting system. Read More

Haiti: Low turnout in local elections | AFP

Haitians turned out in low numbers for local elections on Sunday, exhibiting little enthusiasm for the final step in an agonizing electoral marathon that is finally coming to a close. The country’s political crisis began in October 2015, when results from Haiti’s presidential election were annulled because of massive fraud. It took until November 2016 to hold another presidential election, with turnout at a dismal 21 percent. Read More

Haiti: Final round of election cycle started in 2015 held | Associated Press

Haiti held a final round of legislative contests as well as long-overdue municipal elections on Sunday, closing a repeatedly derailed electoral cycle that started in 2015. President-elect Jovenel Moise’s political faction and its allies are hoping to increase their majority in Parliament with eight legislative runoffs. Voters were also choosing 5,500 district authorities in local elections whose tardiness over a decade has exasperated many. Alix Pierre, a Port-au-Prince lawyer and one of hundreds of voters gathered at a polling station in the Canape Vert section of Haiti’s capital, said he was relieved the 2015 electoral cycle was finally concluding. “It took such a long time to get here,” he said after casting his vote. Read More

Canada: Federal government releases electoral-reform survey findings | The Globe and Mail

About two-thirds of Canadians are generally satisfied with the country’s democracy, but just as many think parties should make decisions collaboratively, says a report on the Liberal government’s online survey about electoral reform. It also says Canadians may be open to changes – if the new system is easy to understand. The findings from the much-maligned MyDemocracy.ca survey, released Tuesday by Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, show 50 per cent of respondents are “somewhat satisfied” with the way democracy works in Canada, and another 17 per cent are very satisfied. Still, the survey said 70 per cent of respondents also want a government where several parties agree before a decision is made. And 62 per cent, almost two-thirds, agreed at least in part that it’s better for several parties to govern together, even if it takes longer for the government to get things done. Read More