Elections Canada’s Disguised Shame

So Elections Canada is boasting a 71 per cent increase in voter turnout at advance polling stations, even though masked clowns, ghosts, scarecrows and mummers (apparently some sort of Newfie costume) are making a mockery of our democratic tradition.

To reiterate what I reported a couple days ago, the Fair Elections Act has made voting extremely easy for the sake of curbing low voter turnout, all at the expense of the process’s integrity.

It’s worth repeating the disillusioned words of my anonymous source (anonymity granted for obvious reasons) from Elections Canada: “[I]n an attempt to make voting easier the whole institution is easier to fraud. An example could be if someone or even a group was persistent in wanting to vote numerous times they can appear at every polling station with stolen ID. With pieces of mail now qualifying as ID it would be simple to gather or steal.”

Now, hypothetically speaking, dumpster divers everywhere can filch two valid pieces of ID (out of dozens of options, such as an empty prescription bottle and a bank statement) from someones trashcan and show up to vote. Especially fervent fraudsters could dress up in an array of costumes with face-coverings and could go door-to-door trick-or-frauding, no one would be the wiser. As I reported in my earlier post, a reporter already proved that a voter doesn’t have to reveal his or her face to vote, a disguised person’s promise will do.

But even the less sophisticated fraudster can get away with democratic murder in plain sight. “[I]f a voter appears with ID that is definitely not their own they simply could make a scene. Unofficial instructions are to diffuse the situation and allow them to vote. Avoid any possible media coverage that will put EC in a bad light,” said the EC employee. No need to trouble yourself with the hassle of dressing up, just act menacing enough without a mask and EC will cower to you.

Evidently, EC’s desperate eagerness for higher voter turnout and good PR has resulted in it throwing all caution and scruples to the wind.

My source got back to me shortly after reading my latest to further clarify a few things on just how rotten the EC has become. He informed me about how employees at the institution scramble to try and keep egg from EC’s face.

“I had seen Ezra’s interesting and comedic report on the reporter voting in a niqab. Of course everyone involved at EC went completely out of their way to accommodate the situation so as not to cause a media event. Funnier that it was [in itself] a media event, although they were unaware at the time.” So apparently employees did find it strange that burly man in a niqab showed up at their office, but they bit their tongues, followed unofficial protocol and welcomed the intruder.

(On a less humorous note, another journalist–this time a woman–voted while niqab-clad and got to skip the pathetic formality of swearing and oath.)

My informant also clarified how the absurdity has reached Kafkaesque proportions: “The mandate of EC is established by the Canada Elections Act and the Fair Elections Act. The act simply determines that identity must be established, the Chief Electoral Officer determines policy on ‘how’ identity can be established.” I wonder if the CEO, Marc Mayrand, is regretting his loose translation of what constitutes IDing someone.

However, regrets or not, Mayrand has an army of ghosts, zombies and werewolves to vanquish on October 19. Over 7,000 Quebecers have pledged to dress up and vote on election day in protest of the recent niqab developments. Maybe their prank will also help draw enough attention from the mainstream media on the sorry ID requirements.

“If [the pledge is] carried through it will cause huge administrative delays if the voter only has a drivers license as ID, as they would need to compete additional paperwork as the photo part of the ID would not be sufficient. But it may also prove a point about lax identification policies.”

Canadians from coast to coast should get in the spirit.

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