Canada

Articles about voting issues in Canada.

Canada: Elections Canada wants to buy social media ‘listening’ tool to track threats ahead of 2019 election | Globalnews.ca

Twitter, Reddit, Facebook. All three have been accused over the last two years of letting themselves be used by Russian attempts to influence the 2016 American election and as a new procurement posting suggests, they are just a few of the social media sites Elections Canada wants to keep an even closer eye on as it tracks risks and trends ahead of the 2019 Canadian election. To do that, the elections agency plans to buy what it calls a “social media and open source data listening and analytics tool.” In a notice of proposed procurement posted on Tuesday morning, the elections agency writes that it needs the new tool to be able to “listen, in near real time, to key influencers to identify potential issues that may affect the election early on,” as well as to “detect, through timely and accurate notifications, potential incidents and trends affecting the integrity of Canadian electoral events in near real time.” Read More

Canada: Federal government to go on retreat to beef up bill to prevent foreign interference in elections | Calgary Herald

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his newly shuffled cabinet will focus squarely on next year’s election at a two-day retreat this week — including a hard look at the very laws governing elections. Last spring the government introduced Bill C-76, aimed at preventing foreign interference in elections and regulating third-party advocacy groups, as well as undoing a number of controversial measures passed by the previous Conservative government. But insiders say the Liberals now want to beef up the bill, which was being studied by the procedure and House affairs committee when Parliament broke for the summer. Among other things, the government wants to do more to ensure foreign actors or money aren’t involved in elections, require more transparency for political messaging on social media and prevent political parties from setting up ostensible advocacy groups to support them and help skirt spending limits. Read More

Canada: Federal government unveils plan to boost Canada’s defences against online attacks, crime | The Globe and Mail

The federal government unveiled its plan to bolster Canada’s defences against nefarious online attacks and crime Tuesday, even as it acknowledged a shortage of skilled cyberwarriors to meet the country’s needs. Backstopped by more than $500-million in new funding over the next five years, Ottawa’s newly released cybersecurity strategy lays out a range of initiatives to help Canadians, business and the government better protect against cyberthreats. The strategy was the result of nearly two years of consultations with industry, academics and other experts, and updates the first such plan released by the Harper Conservatives in 2010. Read More

Canada: Block the parties from predicting voters’ private traits | Policy Options

Over the last decade, predictive statistical models have emerged that can uncover private traits about individuals without their consent. These traits, such as personality or mood, are predicted through various machine learning methods, using digital records of online activity such as social media data. Predictive models have allegedly been used by “propaganda machines” that target individuals with ideas or advertising. The use of predicted private traits has been shown to be an effective means of mass persuasion that can significantly increase product sales. Now we are seeing  firms  like Cambridge Analytica and Aggregate IQ employing these tools for political causes like Brexit and candidates such as Donald Trump. Psychological profiling using social media data was reportedly used for voter suppression — discouraging people from casting their ballots — in the 2016 US presidential election. Cambridge Analytica claimed it used 5,000 data points per adult voter in the United States to create targeted ads for the Trump campaign. Read More

Canada: 2019 federal election a likely target for Russian meddlers, Comey warns | The Canadian Press

Canada — like any number of democracies around the world — needs to be concerned about the threat of Russian interference in its elections, says former FBI director James Comey. Any country that shares liberal, democratic and western values should be worried, considering how much of a threat those values are considered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the world’s most famous former investigators told an Ottawa audience Tuesday. Comey headed up the controversial investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election before he was unceremoniously fired last May by U.S. President Donald Trump. Read More

Canada: Why electronic voting in the Ontario election is a mistake | rabble.ca

A seismic shift will occur in Ontario politics on June 7 regardless of which party wins the election: electronic vote-counting machines will be used across the province for the first time. Machines will scan voters’ paper ballots and calculate the totals at each polling station that is equipped with them. Ninety per cent of the ballots will be counted this way. The rest will be counted by hand, as not all polling stations will have machines. When the polls close, offsite computers will add up the votes. On June 1, CBC News reported that the Progressive Conservatives, “wrote to Elections Ontario this week to flag several issues, including concerns about protection from hacking and the certification of the vote-counting machines.” Elections Ontario’s chief administrative officer, Deborah Danis, was quoted as responding, “There is no possibility that the counts could not be fully corroborated. I would actually argue that the introduction of technology increases our accuracy.” Unfortunately, this response from Elections Ontario falls far short. Here’s why. Read More

Canada: Progressive Conservatives flag concerns about Ontario’s new voting machines | CBC

The Progressive Conservative party is raising concerns about new voting technology that will be used to cast and count ballots in Ontario’s provincial election, CBC News has learned. The June 7 vote will be the first general election in Ontario to use the electronic voting machines. The technology includes devices than scan voter cards and tabulate marked ballots. The provincial agency overseeing the vote worked frequently with all the major parties over the past three years to test and demonstrate the reliability and security of the new technology. However, since Doug Ford won the PC leadership in March, the party has contacted Elections Ontario multiple times with questions and concerns. The PC party lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, wrote to Elections Ontario this week to flag several issues, including concerns about protection from hacking and the certification of the vote-counting machines. Read More

Canada: British Columbia unveils its proposed question for voters in electoral-reform referendum | The Globe and Mail

British Columbians who participate in an electoral-reform referendum this fall would first be asked whether they want to switch to proportional representation, and then to rank three specific PR systems, the province’s Attorney-General said Wednesday. David Eby said the referendum would be conducted by mail-in ballot, with the campaign to begin July 1 and a voting period to run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 30. But opponents were quick to criticize the vote as overly complicated and to seize on what remains unknown, including what the district boundaries would look like under PR. Mr. Eby’s recommendations still must be approved by cabinet, but he said starting the campaign in less than four weeks can be done. Read More

Canada: Liberals nominate Stephane Perreault as next chief electoral officer | CBC

Stéphane Perrault has been nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada’s next chief electoral officer. But New Democrats are demanding to know why the government put forward a different nominee just three weeks ago. Marc Mayrand, the previous chief electoral officer, announced in June 2016 that he intended to resign at the end of that year. Perreault, Mayrand’s deputy, has been serving as the acting chief electoral officer since Mayrand’s departure. “I am pleased to announce the nomination of Stéphane Perrault as Canada’s new Chief Electoral Officer,” Trudeau said in a statement. “His experience leading the agency for the last year and a half and administering many by-elections across the country make Mr. Perrault an excellent choice to head Elections Canada.” Read More

Canada: British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer suggests pre-registering 16-year-olds | Vancouver Sun

A report from the province’s Chief Electoral Officer is calling for 16- and 17-year-olds to be given the right to pre-register to vote, while also pitching a digitization of the voting process. The teens still wouldn’t be eligible to vote until they are 18, but they would be allowed to have their names added automatically to the voters list when they turn 18. Creating a system where voters can vote at any polling station and all votes are counted on election night is also proposed (PDF). The report suggests service to voters would be improved while making for more efficient staffing and close to real-time disclosure of voter participation data. Read More