North America

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

Canada: Ontario e-registration voting tool targeted towards students | The Journal

Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa believes voting in the province has taken a major step towards modernizing with the introduction of an e-registration system. The Ontario Election’s website has implemented an online registration process that incorporates five identity verification steps that will take the user less than 10 minutes to complete. It also features a video tutorial for registering to vote in the general election next spring, as well as registration for individuals  age 16 and 17 interested in being voters in the future. “In just a few easy steps, Ontarians can verify or add their information to the voters list,” Essensa told The Journal via email.   Read More

Canada: Government ‘fell short’ in protecting privacy during electoral reform consultation, privacy commissioner finds | National Post

The government “fell short” and “should have been more prudent” in preventing users’ personal information from being shared with third parties as they interacted with a much-maligned online electoral reform survey, Canada’s privacy commissioner has found. MyDemocracy.ca employed third-party scripts that could disclose users’ personal information to Facebook without their consent as soon as they loaded the website, according to the commissioner’s investigation. The responsible Privy Council Office also never conducted a privacy impact assessment related to the initiative. About 360,000 people had participated in the survey in December and January. An investigation from the privacy commissioner’s office says information retrieved about individuals could lead to “a fairly accurate picture of one’s personal activities, views, opinions, and lifestyle” and “be quite revealing about an individual’s Internet-based activities.” Read More

Canada: Facebook to launch ‘election integrity initiative’ to prevent meddling of votes, ahead of Canadian elections | Reuters

Facebook Inc, under pressure over its role in possible Russian meddling in last year’s US presidential election, said it plans an election integrity initiative to protect Canada’s next vote from cyberthreats. Karina Gould, Canada’s minister of democratic institutions, will speak at a launch event next week, Facebook said Thursday in a statement announcing the project. A company spokeswoman declined to discuss details of the project, which follows a warning by Canada’s electronic spy agency in June that hackers will “very likely” try to influence Canada’s 2019 elections. The agency said it is advising all political parties on how to guard against cyberthreats. Read More

Canada: Limit to election campaign lengths, new third-party rules likely coming in fall, Liberal minister says | National Post

The minister responsible for elections reform says she is aiming to introduce legislation this fall that could impose a time limit on election campaigns. In an interview, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould outlined changes her office is considering — including how to deal with foreign “actors” who she said are “getting ever more creative.” A House of Commons committee recommended in June that a maximum election writ period be set at 43 days, more than a month shorter than the unprecedented 78-day campaign in 2015. Read More

Cayman Islands: Candidate: ‘Drop residency requirements’ for voters, politicians | Cayman Compass

Alric Lindsay has lived in Cayman since he was a child and was adopted by a Caymanian man. His business is here, as is his home, as is pretty much his entire life. However, Mr. Lindsay found himself facing a legal challenge to his ability to run for political office earlier this year based on the fact that he had been out of the country for 797 days during the seven years before March 29, 2017 – nomination day for the general election. A Grand Court decision in mid-April found him eligible to run for office in George Town South, where he finished third out of five candidates. About a month before the vote, he was required to hire a lawyer, go to court and prove he was eligible to stand for election. He believes it made a difference in the campaign. Read More

Canada: Online voting still too risky, cybersecurity expert says | The Record

Online voting is not a secure way for electors to choose a new government, says the chief technology officer of a Cambridge-based cybersecurity firm eSentire. “As a technologist and someone who is very concerned about the integrity of our elections, I would not be a fan or supportive of any electronic voting system,” said Mark McArdle. Online voting is expected to be used by 150 to 200 Ontario municipalities in the next round of municipal elections in October 2018. One of those cities will be Cambridge, which allowed online voting and telephone voting for a two-week advance voting period in 2014. In the next election in 2018, Cambridge will expand early voting to three weeks, and allow internet and telephone voting on election day. Read More

Canada: How Trudeau lost his way on electoral reform | CBC

In an alternate universe, Justin Trudeau wasn’t standing before the cameras on Tuesday, trying again to explain why he had walked away from a campaign commitment to pursue electoral reform. Because during June 2015 in that alternate universe, Trudeau had stood before the cameras and vowed that a Liberal government would implement a ranked ballot for electing MPs. Alas, in reality, Trudeau made an open-ended commitment to reform and vowed it would be in place for 2019. A committee was struck to study the issue, dozens of town hall forums were convened, an online survey was conducted and postcards were mailed to millions of households inviting Canadians to participate.  Only then did Trudeau’s government walk away. But only then did Trudeau publicly confront the actual possibilities for reform. And, as it turns out, his preference for a ranked ballot and his opposition to proportional representation, first stated in 2012, were left standing. Read More

Canada: Taxpayers spent more than $600K for Electoral Reform Committee report Liberals dismissed | The Hill Times

Parliamentarians spent more than $600,000 and 200-plus hours compiling a 333-page report recommending major changes to the country’s voting system that was largely rejected by the Trudeau government within hours of its release, new House of Commons statistics show. The Special Committee on Electoral Reform, convened by the House to study and consult on prospective changes to the federal election process, posted the largest tab of any House committee over the course of 2016-17, according to spending figures released last week by the House Liaison Committee, which determines committee budgets. The all-party Electoral Reform Committee spent $477,910 travelling across the country to hear directly from Canadians, with another $125,839 charged for the work of Library of Parliament research assistants and the committee’s operational budget, which includes working meals, reports, and professional services. Read More

Canada: Despite risk of cyber attacks, political parties still handle Canadians’ data with no rules in place | Toronto Star

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says it’s not the time to implement basic privacy and security rules for political parties’ collection of Canadians’ personal data, despite warning that those parties are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Speaking with the Star on Friday, Gould said she decided on a voluntary approach for parties to meet and discuss vulnerabilities with the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic spying and cyber defence agency. “I think it’s important that we respect the independence of political parties, and we ensure that they are able to make those decisions (around cyber security),” Gould said in an interview. Read More

Canada: Cyber threats against Canadian democratic processes will increase, warns spy agency | IT World Canada

Canada’s electronic spy agency has warned the country’s political parties, candidates and news media that it is “highly probable” the increasing cyber threat activity against democratic processes around the world will be seen here. In a report issued Friday the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which looks after protecting federal networks, said specifically it  expects “that multiple hacktivist groups” will very likely deploy cyber capabilities in an attempt to influence the democratic process — including disrupting political parties, candidates and the media — during the 2019 Canadian federal election. “We anticipate that much of this activity will be low-sophistication, though we expect that some influence activities will be well-planned and target more than one aspect of the democratic process.” For example, it notes that in 2015  the hactivist group Anonymous leaked reports about the redevelopment of Canada’s key diplomatic centres in Britain. Read More