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Day two: Democracy’s day in court

Charter challenge team

Day 2, July 3, 2015

On the second and final day of hearings on our injunction to stop the so-called Fair Elections Act, Harper government lawyers presented an unconvincing rebuttal.

They had a tough act to follow. On day one, supported by testimony from Elections Canada, elections experts and civil rights groups, our legal team presented powerful evidence that eliminating the voter identification card as valid ID stands to block tens of thousands of eligible voters – mostly students, seniors, aboriginals and the disabled – from casting their ballots in October.

The cards were used by 400,000 voters in the 2011 election. Elections Canada was so pleased with the program that they planned to expand it to cover all 25 million voters in the 2015 federal election.

The government’s defence relied on unfounded claims that stricter voter ID rules are needed to stop fraud at the polls – a claim that has been soundly debunked by election experts like Harry Neufeld, who served as B.C.’s chief electoral officer and a consultant with Elections Canada.

As has been their legal strategy throughout this constitutional challenge, government lawyers once again attempted and failed to undermine the credibility of expert witnesses, rather than counter their testimony. They also used outdated reports and isolated irregularities to try to manufacture widespread problems with the program.

At the end of the day, the Harper government’s defence boiled down to this: It’s not the government’s job to make voting easier.

And that’s where they’re wrong.

Not only does such a callous and disturbing statement reveal their contempt for true democracy, it misses the heart of the matter.

This isn’t about making voting easier. It’s about making voting fair – truly fair.

We expect the court to return with its ruling on whether an injunction will be granted by July 20.

In the meantime, I want to thank you once again for your generous contribution to making this vital legal action possible.

Stay tuned…