Monday, May 02, 2011

Election-day shenanigans in Guelph

Like a good citizen, I headed out bright and early this morning to my local polling station to vote this morning. There was no line-up, but a steady flow of people in and out to the various booths. My partner reported the array of Conservative signs that were lying on the grass in front of the station (although not standing up) to the local officer, who had them removed before we had left the station. And then the interesting part of this story begins.

I returned home to find a message from an automated dialer on my voice mail telling me that my polling station had been switched from the one printed on the card I had received from Elections Canada, directing me to the Old Quebec Street mall. Clearly, this was a hoax. According to my caller ID, the call came from a 450 area code, and told me to call a 1-800 number if I had questions (the final four digits of which matched the number on my caller ID - not the 1-800 number on Elections Canada's website). I've reported the hoax call to Elections Canada, and initiated a call trace on the call. Hopefully that phone number will be shut down, and the perpetrator will not succeed in suppressing the vote.

This has been another ugly, ugly election here in Guelph. No reports of cut brake lines like last time, thank god, but enough nasty efforts at vote suppression and unpleasant campaign strategies that I'll be really happy when all of this is safely over.

Get out and vote everyone - and if you're not sure where to vote, check the address on your polling card or the Elections Canada website.

3:44 ETA: For more information about how this story is unfolding in Guelph, see this article in the Guelph Mercury. It appears that the local returning officer is arranging transportation for anyone who shows up at the hoax locations trying to vote.

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At 12:40 pm, Anonymous Sixth Estate said...

I'm trying to assemble a list of these incidents. I look forward to any updates about the situation in Guelph!

At 12:49 pm, Blogger Greg said...

This has been going on, all over Canada. James Bow report it happened in Kitchener as well and I heard Manitoba.

At 2:35 pm, Blogger Chrystal Ocean said...

More and more reason to stop vacillating over online voting and get it done! Then no 'moving polls', and less voter suppression. Yes, online voting has its problems but its benefits look increasingly to outweigh those of what we're seeing now.

At 2:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voting with paper ballots has been done for decades and decades, and so we know (or should!) its weaknesses and have (again, or should have) strong plans in place to counteract them.

Online voting would help fix some problems, but it would cause new ones all of its own, many of them currently unknown/unconsidered. One obvious one is how you would do a recount: if pressing a button spits out a number of votes, how would pressing the button again confirm that the number is right?

There would have to be some way to prove that a person's vote for a candidate is valid and counted and didn't get switched to another party, but without being able to prove that a person voted for a particular candidate (possible vote-buying/intimidation).


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