Friday, April 15, 2011

Elections Canada: Are All Canadians Equal?

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 08:  The Wal-Mart logo i...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Apparently not.

Some democracy-challenged Canadians apparently require "special ballots".
The report quotes an Elections Canada official, who said the university has held special ballots before without issue. Special ballots are different than advance polls. They are set up as a way of facilitating the voting process for groups that are often under-represented on voting day, such as students and aboriginals.
Are students and aboriginals intrinsically less able to exercise their right to vote than others? Or just too  indifferent or lazy?

How about snowbirds? We're (sensibly) down in the USA; we're under-represented -- and we're as indifferent and lazy as the best of 'em. Shouldn't we have equal access to "special ballots"? Elections Canada could set them up in local Wal Marts for us. Better still, I would like one set up for me at the local Julio G's Mexican Restaurant at Tatum and Cactus in Phoenix, where we go for double-stamp Monday -- otherwise, I will be under-represented on voting day, and that will be a loss for Canadian democracy.

Do you think that could that be arranged, Elections Canada?  If you set up between 11 am. and 1 pm., you'll catch me, and Julio's will probably spring for chips and salsa.

Ignatieff is making a big deal about a Conservative objection to special ballots and is equating special-access to special balloting with Canadian "democracy".

Sounds more like the promotion of democratic inequality based on selective state-sponsored group-identity politics to me.

The lazy and indifferent should be equal across Canada, from sea-to-glorious-sea, from coast-to-coast-to-coast-to, er border, and even down into the US.

And that's the way the lazy and indifferent Canadian Ball bounces.

Update: A link to Elections Canada Special Ballots

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Anonymous said...

The problem for Iggy here is these special voting places the Liberals set up and campaigned at are illegal. So if any of the press figure this out and call them out it we can show everyone the Liberal contempt for Democracy. This is a US Democrat vote early vote often ballot stuffing maneuver brought here by Iggy himself.

Anonymous said...

I am a former Returing Officer for Elections Canada.
The Election Act is very clear that a Special Ballot be held at each local Elections Canada Office during the Election Period.
It appears to me that having a Special Ballot in a university is a breach of the Act.


Anonymous said...

Seriously? You don't know why students need special ballots? It's called end of term. You want to give them a chance to vote before they go away for the summer. At my university, the students will have finished exams and be away for their summer jobs by the time of the election.

I don't know about the reasons for needing them for the other groups, but I should think anything that improves voter turnout is a good thing.

RkBall said...

So... Canadian elections always coincide with end of terms? And Advance Polls are good enough for other Canadians, but not for students?

Anonymous said...

Quoting from elections Canada:

"Any elector who cannot or does not wish to vote at a polling station during an election or referendum may vote using a special ballot. With a special ballot, an elector can vote by mail or in person at the office of any returning officer. If the elector is away from his or her electoral district, inside or outside Canada, he or she can also register to vote with Elections Canada in Ottawa. Voting by special ballot is governed by the Special Voting Rules, set out at Part 11 of the Canada Elections Act. The Special Voting Rules apply to the following categories of electors:

1. Canadian electors temporarily away from their electoral districts during the election or referendum, whether in Canada or abroad

2. Canadian electors in their electoral districts who cannot or do not wish to go to an ordinary or advance poll to vote

3. Canadian citizens temporarily residing outside Canada

4. Canadian Forces electors (including civilians employed as teachers or administrative support staff in Canadian Forces schools outside the country)

5. incarcerated electors"

Thus to answer your question as far as elections Canada goes, yes, all Canadians are equal, they can all use special bollots if they wish.

RkBall said...

"Thus to answer your question as far as elections Canada goes, yes, all Canadians are equal, they can all use special bollots if they wish."

And will Elections Canada go out of its way to ensure that I have effortless access to one? If all Canadians have equal access, by making the effort to get and use one, why does EC target certain privileged groups for facilitated access? That's the point I'm making here.

Anonymous said...

What about this from theRecord?

“He tried to grab for the ballot box. I’m not sure he got his hand on the box, but he definitely grabbed for it,” said Brenna Anstett, a student, who at the time of the reported incident was sealing her SECOND of two envelopes containing her vote."
Does that not imply vote fraud? Why was she sealing two envelopes containing her vote? Something really wrong here.

Anonymous said...

Rk, does EC target them, or does some other group request a special ballot booth be set up?

I get the point you are making. I don't have a problem with it however. I feel anything that increases voter turnout is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Since my last comment it has been reported by CTV News that Electons Canada did not authorize a Special ballot at the University.
The Returning Office in Guelph has acted on their own.
I see a serious problem for Elections Canada.
Yesterday Travelled 50 Kms to vote at the office of Elections Canada,
The Students at Guelph have the same opportunity and will not have to travel as far.


Dave B. said...

Or, vote at the regular poll in the riding you will be residing in for the summer. They may not be mature, but maybe maturity comes when they are treated like adults.

Anonymous said...

Looks like EC has just said they will not throw out the ballots from the Guelph incident but they are telling RTOs accross Canada to never do that again since it's illegal.

RkBall said...

"I feel anything that increases voter turnout is a good thing."

I agree. But not when it privileges one Canadian, or class, or group of Canadians, over another -- which is what this is doing.

And not when it is done by government officials because government officials view select groups as "underrepresented".

Pissedoff said...

Having been out of the country in 2006 my wife and I had to go through hoops to postal vote, lots of checks to make sure we were legally entitled. Then we could only vote for candidates in our own home riding. Did anyone check these students were legal and voting correctly or is this another attempt by the Libs to steal.

Mark McLaughlin said...

Don't ever expect Elections Canada to rule in the Conservative's favour, ever.

I don't know all the deatils of this case but I've lost faith in their ability to be impartial.

Mark McLaughlin said...

Oh, and in 2006 the Liberals SUCCESSFULLY cancelled a special ballot at the U of T over procedure problems that look pretty similar to what was happening in Guelph.

I guess what's good for the Liberals is not good for the Conservatives.

The fact that the MSM rarely calls EC on their "different standards for different parties" behaviour is appalling.

maryT said...

How do we know that 700 students will not go home for Easter and vote again. Those votes should be destroyed, without counting, and those that voted should not be allowed to vote again in this election. Their names should be struck from every election register.
Wonder if any of those 700 were involved in protests last summer.
Do they belong to any campus political group.

RkBall said...

Mary - good point -- "Vote early, vote often".

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"