Friday, May 18, 2012

Judge Overturns Etobicoke Election Result

The results of the 2011 federal election has been overturned in the riding of Etobicoke Centre by an Ontario judge because Elections Canada workers at one specific polling location had inadequate knowledge of Canadian electoral law. The people trained by EC made up their own rules, and now the Conservative who won is paying the price. Less than 100 people were allowed to vote at the wrong location, but because the riding was won by less than 100 votes, the result has been thrown out. It should be noted that we have no idea how these people voted. They could very well have all voted for the defeated Liberal candidate, but tens of thousands of votes have now been thrown in the trash because EC workers f**ked up. This is a black eye for Elections Canada, and if we're going to start challenging the competency of their workers nationally, this is only the tip of the iceberg. This ruling should be appealed to the Supreme Court before we go and throw out thousands of legal votes because EC botched 79 registrations.

Fraud was not a factor in the judge's decision; "we need to be assured that those who vote are qualified to do so. We need to be confident that those who receive a ballot have been identified as persons who are on the official list of electors or who have registered". So if election workers in several ridings also circumvented the vouching/registration rules, do those results also need to be discarded before Canadians lose faith in their democracy? As the judge said "if we give up these foundations of our electoral system, we are risking a loss of confidence in our elections and in our government". Personally, I haven't lost faith in the government, I've lost faith in Elections Canada and their ability to teach electoral law to their army of temporary workers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Overturning Election Results

One year after Canadians elected a Conservative majority government,there is one court challenge trying to overturn the results in one riding, Etobicoke Center, which was won by the Tories. The basis for this legal challenge is not allegations of Tory robocalling or fraud, but rather the incompetence of Elections Canada workers who did not properly understand our country's electoral law. The law says that you must vote at a designated poll location on election day, but there is a common misconception that you can show up to vote anywhere of convenience. This can lead to naive (though often well intentioned) election workers attempting to circumvent the law allowing them to vote in the wrong location. Typically this would be done either by an improper registration/revision or illegal vouching.

In Etobicoke the registration forms are either missing or never existed. Allegedly people were also being told at that location that they could vote in the box with the shortest line, and if people were doing so than many were voting in boxes where their name was not on the list; which would require corroborating incompetence by the DROs,  poll clerks and poll supervisors in addition to the information/registration officers. Now a Conservative MPs victory is being challenged in court because election workers did not do their jobs properly. The Tory has the most to lose, but make no mistake, it is Elections Canada on trial.

Has a judge ever overturned a federal election result? I'm not sure that you could just void all the results from that specific poll location, throwing away thousands of legal votes because of a few dozen improper registrations/vouchings. Can a judge force a byelection in a riding because workers at a given location screwed up? If that's the case, there's probably 100 other MPs who should be concerned for their jobs. In a perfect world, election workers would know election rules and perform their duties accordingly. Unfortunately when dealing with a large temporary workforce assembled and trained in a short period of time, you are going to get mistakes, in some place more than others. Is this sufficient to force a byelection?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tory Majority; One Year Later

As we reach the one year anniversary of the Canadian Conservative party winning majority control of parliament, how would you rate this first year of Tory majority government? Do you approve, disapprove, or are you neutral? Much has been accomplished, and there is still 3 years remaining with lots of time on the agenda. Some would argue that democracy is being slowly ripped away from us, others would say the government is doing a far better job than the alternative ever could. Kind of depends who you talk to.