Is the Fair Elections Act unconstitutional? The answer may be in the numbers

Yesterday, federal Conservatives announced the “Fair Elections Act” may be studied this spring in 12-13 hearings likely to be held in Ottawa. The announcement comes after widespread criticism of the bill, including concerns that Elections Canada is being stripped of its powers, that increases to donation limits will not in fact close "loopholes" to big money, and that Elections Canada will be barred from encouraging people to vote. 

A government press release on the Act says that “Each time someone votes fraudulently, they cancel out the ballot of an honest voter.” New voter identification rules are designed to crack down’ on the supposed problem of electoral fraud. But in a blog post published Sunday, Yale law student Adam Goldenberg argued the Fair Elections Act may even be unconstitutional. 

According to Goldenberg, there is a legal ‘test’ of whether or not something is constitutional and reasonable infringement of Charter rights.

To assess whether imposing voter identification rules are a necessary Charter infringement to prevent someone from impersonating another at the polls, the court needs to decide first if preventing fraud is a sufficiently important objective. It must then decide if the infringement is “rationally connected” to the objective. Next, it must decide if voter ID rules in question infringe the right to vote as minimally as possible, and finally if the benefits of the infringement (“salutary benefits”) outweigh the “deleterious effects.”

Goldenberg argues that on the last two points, the Fair Elections Act might run into trouble. Ironically perhaps, it is vouching laws under attack that are the potential foil here. The courts, Goldenberg argues, may find that the voter ID restrictions do not infringe the right to vote as little as possible nor do the benefits outweigh the costs.

On that same note, as a second test of whether the benefits of new voter identification requirements in the Fair Elections Act outweigh the costs, I set out to understand just how many “honest voters” have actually been impacted by fraudulent voting by finding all cases of electoral fraud or Election Day impersonation took place.

Thankfully, Elections Canada keeps track of all this data, and has tracked convictions under the Canada Elections Act and Referendum Act since 1992. According to the data, there have been just eight cases of convicted Election Day voter fraud since 1992:

1. In 1993, a woman voted twice in a Saskatchewan referendum. She pled guilty to the offense, a breach of paragraph 249(1)(e) of the Canada Elections Act as Adapted for the Purposes of a Referendum. She was discharged conditionally and placed on probation for a period of six months.

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Election Fraud in Canada

The most grievous election fraud ever perpetrated in North America was when Britain SOLD Newfoundland to Canada, under the guise of a referendum. Read "Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders" by Greg Malone to discover the worst hijacking of democracy that has ever penetrated the commonwealth. 

Fair Elections Act

If you look it up on the Elections Canada web site, Canadians have cast more than 100,000,000 votes in elections and referenda since 1992. That's a fraud rate of <.00000008 for Harper to "crack down" on. Although it will "crack down" on how easy it is for Aboriginal people to vote (no "pipeline vengeance" here, no sir). As well as "cracking down" on permitting Elections Canada to encourage free citizens to vote in general.


I have found that the easiest way to vote at any level (fed,prov or mun) is to file a tax return, tick the box saying you are a Canadian Citizen and the next box authorizing the CRA to give your name and address to Elections Canada. Before each election, you get a yellow postcard telling you where and when to vote. armed with this you attend the poll, show the clerk something with your address on it (preferably a drivers license) and you vote. I once showed the clerk my citizenship card but he rejected it because it had no address.

Now most of you have probably worked out that you don't need too many people in any riding who are resident but not citizens to tick both boxes to improve considerably your chances of winning.

Think of a number. I bet it was 905. 


Just file income taxes and then you can vote?

Not everyone files income taxes. Not everyone who is eligible to vote has an address. So your simplistic solution does not work.

In order to vote, you must have one piece of ID with your current address on it. Sounds simple, unless you don't have a fixed address (folks living on First Nations lands for example, don't have addresses for their homes in some case and their status cards don't have addresses on them either). Not everyone has a driver's license. Not everyone drives. It's just not that simple.

That's why vouching exists. To allow folks to exercise their right to vote.



Serial fraudsters.

Cons convicted of election fraud in 2006, with over $200k paid in fines, but not a single day of jail time for this major crime.

Cons convicted of election fraud in 2008, with Dean Del Maestro and Penashue charged.

Election fraud confirmed in 2011, with foreign newspapers calling the election "a sham" and "rigged"; CIMS database confirmed the source of the data used to perpetrate the fraud, which is encrypted, password-locked, access-logged, and access is restricted to high-ranking Cons only.

Denounce Harpler's reign as illegitimate.  Write your MP, sign the petition, get vocal, our rights are at stake.

Jail, repeal, severe audit.