Dr. Dawg

Guelph vote suppression? Over there! Bright shiny cupcake!

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Most of us are in Guelph at the moment, if only in our imaginations, protecting ballot boxes from theft by young Conservative hooligans. But Con operative Stephen Taylor wants us to check out the Kupcake Kaper in St. Isidore instead.

OK, noted.

The Conservatives say one of the Tories, a staff member on leave from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office who was passing out cupcakes, got one of the treats smushed into his head.

Stephen, however, says it was a “young conservative woman.”

Here’s the video. Can’t see a darned thing, myself. But man, or woman, if it happened, it shouldn’a.

Now, back to ballot-stealing and voter suppression.

There have been so many tweets on this that the entire cyber-bush is about to catch fire. What emerges, however, are these facts:

1) Strictly speaking, the Guelph location was not a polling place, but a drop-off spot for special ballots.

2) Special ballots may be cast by any citizen who will not be present for advance polls or E-day. One goes an Elections Canada Deputy Returning Officer, shows ID, and marks the preferred candidate’s name on a paper, which is then sealed in an envelope. The envelope is placed in a ballot box, to be opened on May 2. The voter’s name is then noted on the list of electors as having voted. (Full Manual here.)

3) At Guelph University, this arrangement was made simple for students in residence there. It is entirely legal, and had taken place in the previous two elections.

4) There is nothing in the Canada Elections Act that contemplates a role for scrutineers in the case of special ballots. Nor does nearby partisan material appear to be precluded.

5) It appears that the Conservative lawyer’s letter is being circulated to misinform. E.g., there was no advance poll “authorized” because this was not an advance poll. The word “disingenuous” would seem to apply here.

What we have here is classic Rovian vote suppression. I hope students across the country take this little civics lesson to heart.

PS: The Liberals are not exactly clean when it comes to vote suppression. [via Kady]

Former DRO James Bow weighs in:

These are, essentially, mail-in ballots, which to my mind casts some doubt on the allegations made by the Conservative campaign office as to the legality of this poll. If this is a case of Elections Canada officials deciding that, if students couldn’t come down to the Elections Canada office to cast their special ballots, they’d bring the Elections Canada office to them, what’s illegal about that?

Nothing whatever. It appears that EC procedure was to get pre-approval, but no laws were broken—except possibly the young Conservative’s attempt to grab the ballot box.

UPDATE! The Guelph students win:

While the initiative at the University of Guelph was not pre-authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer, the Canada Elections Act provides that electors may apply for and vote by special ballot. A special ballot coordinator, appointed by the local returning officer, oversaw the activities at the University of Guelph. All information at our disposal indicates that the votes were cast in a manner that respects the Canada Elections Act and are valid.

UPPERDATE: And the Cons applaud! What crust.


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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 15, 2011 11:14 AM.

Harper Youth goons try to seize ballot box [updated] was the previous entry in this blog.

No Tamils (except one): time to juxtapose is the next entry in this blog.

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