Defending the right to vote with charter challenge of "Fair" Elections Act

Yesterday was a busy day in the fight to defend democracy.

We held a press conference yesterday morning in Ottawa with the Canadian Federation of Students to announce that we’ve filed over 2,000 pages of powerful evidence with the Ontario Superior Court demonstrating the dangerous effects of the Fair Elections Act on Canadian democracy.

Three years ago, to the day - on February 23, 2012 - national news broke that there had been phone calls made to people across the country directing them to the wrong polling stations.

As a result of those revelations, eight electors contested the results of six ridings in court, a case the Council of Canadians actively supported. It's now a matter of public record that the 2011 election fraud was an orchestrated campaign that made thousands of live and recorded phone calls to people across 247 ridings with the aim of preventing those people from voting. The ringleaders behind the 2011 election fraud are still at large, but the Federal Court ruling made clear that the likely source of the information used for the calls was the Conservative Party's database.

The misleading calls at issue in the previous legal challenge were used as an excuse by the federal government to bring in the so-called "Fair" Elections Act. But rather than make it easier for people to vote and harder to get away with election fraud in the future, the "Fair" Elections Act does the opposite. This is why we're challenging the legislation in court.

The evidence we have filed in our challenge of the "Fair" Elections Act clearly shows that if the legislation remains in place as is during the next election tens of thousands of voters will be disenfranchised. The "Fair" Elections Act's restrictions on the Chief Electoral Officer's ability to communicate with the public will also make catching any perpetrators of future election fraud even more unlikely.

There has been quite a bit of media coverage of yesterday's announcement, including:

•    Elections Act changes challenged by Council of Canadians, students group (CBC)
•    New voter ID rules face charter challenge from 2 advocacy groups (Canadian Press)
•    The fight for Canadians' right to vote continues (Rabble.ca)

In our press release (Fair Elections Act Legal Case Could Call Into Question The Validity Of Upcoming Election) we note, "The applicants will be seeking a court order quashing provisions of the so-called Fair Elections Act, which will suppress the votes of tens of thousands of qualified electors. The evidence from four experts, including B.C.’s former Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld, shows that tens of thousands of voters will be disenfranchised if the provisions being challenged remain in place during the next election... The Conservative Party won its majority in 2011 by only 6,201 votes across 14 ridings." You can read the press release and the evidence here.

We'll be doing everything we can to ensure these important issues are heard in court before the next election.

Donations can be made here to support this important legal challenge.

The legal challenge of the "Fair" Elections Act has been brought by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students and three individual electors.