North America

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

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 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

Canada: Supreme Court rejects appeal against B.C. Election Act | CBC

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal of what B.C. civil liberty groups have argued is an election gag law. The B.C. Election Act forces people to register before sponsoring political advertising during a provincial election — even if little or no money is spent. Though the appeal was rejected and the law was upheld, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) says the ruling is a partial win because it clarifies a law that has caused confusion and even self-censoring in the past. “The court has kind of reinterpreted what election advertising actually is in a way that I think will be helpful to individuals who want to speak out about the issues that matter to them during an election campaign,” said Laura Track, a lawyer with the BCCLA. Read More

Canada: Report suggests big changes for Vancouver’s local elections | The Globe and Mail

Vancouver should move to a proportional-representation system for its civic elections, allow immigrants who aren’t yet citizens to vote and place tighter controls on campaign finance, including asking councillors to excuse themselves from decisions that involve their donors, says an independent report commissioned by the city. The report, which will be considered by council on Tuesday, proposes widespread changes to local elections, which have suffered from poor turnout in recent years as the amount of money spent by campaigns skyrocketed. Politicians in the city have also faced increasing scrutiny over council approvals of projects whose developers are among the largest donors to the city’s political parties. However, the city could not implement any of those changes without the support of the provincial government, which has previously been reluctant to tighten campaign-finance rules, either at the local or provincial levels. Read More

Canada: Rookie MP Gould takes over troubled electoral reform file | Toronto Star

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promoted first-time Burlington MP Karina Gould to cabinet, tasking her with delivering on the Liberals’ troubled promise to reform Canada’s elections. Gould was one of three rookie MPs elevated to cabinet Tuesday, replacing Peterborough MP Maryam Monsef as Minister of Democratic Institutions. In that role, Gould will have the unenviable task of figuring out how to make good on Trudeau’s pledge to replace Canada’s 150-year old first-past-the-post electoral system. It’s a mission that Gould believes in, at least. “Electoral reform is the next step in (an) evolution toward a more inclusive system. We can build a better system that provides a stronger link between the democratic will of Canadians and the election results,” Gould said in the House of Commons last June. Read More

Haiti: Losers in Haitian election cry foul | AFP

The losers in Haiti’s presidential election insisted Wednesday they will not recognise political neophyte Jovenel Moise as the winner, calling the officially declared result a political coup. But international organisations welcomed the conclusion of a tortuously long voting process that began in October 2015 and paralysed political life in this unstable Caribbean nation that is the poorest in the Americas. Moise was declared winner of the November 20 first round Tuesday night by the Provisional Electoral Council, with 55.6 percent of the votes. To check against fraud — the reason for the scrapping of the election the first time Haiti tried in 2015 — the council said right after the election that 12 percent of the ballots must be verified. After a week of checking, the council said there was no signficant fraud. Read More

Haiti: Court rules that electoral process unaffected by voting irregularities | Jamaica Observer

The Office of the National Electoral Litigation (BCEN) in Haiti on Monday ruled that while there had been irregularities in the tabulation of votes cast in the November 20 presidential elections last year, they did not “affect the electoral process”. One month after voters had cast ballots in the legislative and presidential elections, the BCEN had handed a lifeline to three political parties that had been challenging the victory of businessman Jovenelle Moise, when it ordered a review of the preliminary results. Read More

Mexico: Safran Identity & Security to Modernize Mexico’s Biometric Voter ID System | American Security Today

Safran Identity & Security has been awarded a five-year contract by the National Electoral Institute of Mexico (INE) for its multi-biometric identification system and related services. With this new contract, INE confirms its trust in Safran to conform and update the Mexican national voter registry that enables fair and efficient elections. As one of the world’s largest systems of its kind, the multi-biometric identification system ensures each voter has a unique identity by detecting false or double-identity cases in real time. It uses both fingerprint and facial recognition to help ensure that each Mexican citizen is registered only once in the national voter rolls. Read More

Canada: Federal government wants expat voting rights case adjourned due to proposed legislation | The Globe and Mail

Proposed legislation granting long-term Canadian expats the right to vote will render a court fight over the issue moot, the federal government argues in new filings. As a result, the government is calling for a year-long adjournment of a Supreme Court of Canada hearing – set for February – in which two expats were expected to challenge parts of the Canada Elections Act that have disenfranchised them. “If Bill C-33 is enacted in its current form, the appellants will have the right to vote in future elections,” the government says in its motion to the chief justice. “An adjournment of the appeal is warranted to allow Parliament to debate and consider the bill.” At issue in the legal battle is a ban on Canadians’ voting in federal elections if they have lived abroad more than five years. Ontario’s top court has upheld the restriction as constitutional, prompting the pending the Supreme Court challenge. Read More