Yesterday, the CBC reported that 436 voters in Calgary received voter information cards from Elections Canada directing them to the wrong polling station.
And this isn’t an isolated incident.
If this brings back bad memories of the robocall scandal, you’re not alone. The shameful scheme to trick voters across Canada to go to the wrong polling station (which the federal court later ruled pointed to the Conservative Party of Canada), remains the single worst attack on Canada’s democracy. Public trust in our elections is still recovering.
As for these latest incidents, you can’t pin the blame on Elections Canada. No, that rests squarely on the Harper Conservatives. It was their so-called “Fair” Elections Act that rammed through sweeping changes to not only how Canadians vote, but who is allowed to vote.
With strict new voter ID laws that will render it impossible for tens of thousands of people to vote, mostly students, seniors and Indigenous peoples, the Conservatives have essentially legalized voter suppression.
Under the new act, Elections Canada is even banned from alerting the public in the event of another robocall scandal!
And now all of this is coming to a head with the most important – and closest – federal election in a generation less than two weeks away.
At a time when every vote counts more than ever, the last thing Canada’s democracy needs is more public mistrust and misinformation around voting.
That’s why I’m proud to tell you that the Council of Canadians has just launched VoteWatch – a secure online service that allows Canadians to report voter suppression and other dirty tricks they experience or witness in the lead up to election day.
Such incidents may provide critical evidence to challenge results in battleground ridings. They may also bolster the Council’s constitutional challenge to repeal the “Fair” Elections Act, which is still before the courts.
But with the election only 11 days away, I need to ask for your support to get this vital effort off the ground.
The Council will immediately put your gift to work by:
Launching a national ad campaign to alert no fewer than 1 million voters across Canada about VoteWatch, and encourage people to “recognize, record, and report” potential fraudulent activities around the election.
Outfitting our amazing volunteers across Canada with guides to inform voters from students to seniors of the new ID laws. Information is power, and in these final days we’ll go door-to-door blitzing communities and campuses across the country!
Organizing a strong presence at polling stations in key riding on election day to monitor for fraudulent activities and help people to overcome obstacles to voting.
The best defense against voter suppression is an informed electorate.
Your gift today will help achieve exactly that.
Let’s make sure this election is more fair for all voters.
Please give what you can.
With hope and resolve,