Sunday, March 02, 2014

C-23: The Theft Of Democracy Part VII

I've more or less gone as far with analyzing the text of C-23 myself at this point in time.  I'm sufficiently convinced that this legislation is nothing more than an overt move on the part of the Harper Conservatives to undermine Canada's democracy, and should be tossed in the garbage bin sooner than later.

However, it is also relevant to discuss the revised Section 44 of the legislation.

Harry Neufeld, who wrote a report on problems in the last federal election, is warning of the potential for more abuse at polling stations if one part of the government's proposed fair elections act goes ahead. 
Neufeld, B.C.'s former chief electoral officer and now an independent electoral management consultant, wrote the compliance review that identified polling problems in the 2011 election and made recommendations on how to fix them. 
He says Section 44 of the government’s new legislation would allow all central polling supervisors to be appointed by a riding's incumbent candidate or the candidate's party.
"It’s completely inappropriate in a democracy, " said Neufeld. 
Under current legislation, central poll supervisors are appointed by returning officers, who are hired by Elections Canada. The supervisors are put in place at polling stations to make sure voting unfolds smoothly.
I don't know about anybody else, but just like the objections I raised regard section 143(3.3), I see enormous problems with having the parties appointing _any_ electoral officials at the polling station level.  There is no need for this, and in fact it calls into question the very credibility of the voting system.  Political parties already have the right to appoint scrutineers to oversee the voting and vote counting processes.  That is as far as their involvement should go.  Anything more than that steps into the realm of electoral manipulation and fraud.

There are already enormous issues with C-23 that give the Harper Party far too much ability to manipulate the voting process as it is, having the right to appoint the staff who oversee the polling station just reeks of not just opportunism, but part of a larger strategy to engage in voter suppression.

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