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

(Page 2 of 2)

2. In 1993, a man voted twice in a Saskatchewan referendum, and pled guilty to charges. He was discharged conditionally and placed on probation for a period of six months. 

3. In 1997, a Quebec man voted twice in the federal election. He pled guilty to the offence, and in 1998 was sentenced to a fine of $100 plus costs.

4. An unqualified voter cast a ballot in the 1997 election, and pled guilty to charges under the Elections Act. The voter was given an absolute discharge after making a $300 charitable donation.

5. A third unqualified voter cast an unqualified ballot in Quebec in 1997 and plead guilty to charges. Following a charitable donation, the voter was given an absolute discharge.

6. In the 2000 election, an elector in Erie-Lincoln Ontario requested a second ballot and plead guilty to contravening section 7, thereby committing an offense under paragraph 483(b) of the Canada Elections Act. The person was fined $350.

7. In the 2004 election, James DiFiore of Trinity-Spadina was found guilty of wilfully applying to be included on a list of electors in one polling division while being already included on a list of electors for another polling division at the same election. He paid a $250 fine.

8. In the 2006 election, a Toronto man voted at the general election though he was not qualified as an elector as he was not a Canadian citizen. He pled guilty and before sentencing performed 30 hours of community service. The Court took into account his young age and that he did not intend to affect the vote. He was granted an absolute discharge.

If we’re examining hard data, it would appear the “salutary benefit” of infringing on the Charter right to vote is that it could have prevented a total of just eight cases of convicted voter fraud in over 20 years. On the other hand, the “deleterious effect” is that in future elections, over 120,000 voters per election may not be able to cast a ballot if vouching is scrapped.

The question that remains is: do eight votes constitute a reasonable case for potentially disenfranchising 120,000 people from voting in the next election?

The answer, it appears, is in the numbers.

Read More:

More in Commentary

Why free trade talks with China failed

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jetted off to Beijing, the media was told to expect the announcement of a free trade agreement, the first of its kind between China and a G7 country. The first sign...

A young Iranian helps Syrian refugees adjust to Canada

A young Iranian, himself, new to Canada reaches out to help Syrian refugees settle here. But with the war in Syria, tensions between Iranians and Syrians are rising. How will he succeed?

Linda Solomon Wood on a Bloomberg presidential bid

What do you think of Bloomberg's intimation he may run for president? I think it's a terrible idea.  The last time we had a strong third party candidate in a presidential race it was Ralph Nadar...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.