Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Voter suppression goes to court and committee

The Council of Canadians, representing electors in seven ridings where "irregularities" have been clearly reported, is pushing the voter suppression scandal into federal court.
A citizen advocacy group is asking the Federal Court of Canada to overturn election results in seven ridings where telephone dirty tricks may have kept voters away from the polls.

The Council of Canadians says pre-recorded robocalls and live calls influenced the outcome of votes in closely fought races in British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Ontario.

The group is backing the first legal challenge of election results since the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia News revealed ongoing Elections Canada investigations into misleading election day calls in Guelph and other ridings.

The organization's lawyers filed four applications in court on Friday and was due to file three more Monday, all seeking have the results of the votes set aside.

The applications claim that irregular, fraudulent or illegal activities affected the outcome in each of the seven ridings.

All of the ridings named were won by Conservative candidates and all but one was decided by fewer than 1,000 votes.
This challenge is an application to have the results of the last election in those ridings declared invalid. A court challenge of this kind can be tricky but it does open the doors to compelling all candidates to turn over records of their campaign activities. Impolitical provides some details and speculation that is well worth noting.

The other event on the voter suppression horizon is the appearance of Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand before a parliamentary committee. The ploy by the Harperites to schedule that appearance at the same time that the bulk of the Ottawa press corps will be sequestered in the budget lock-down demonstrates the childish nature of the Harper government, and that's about all it does. Given the obvious focus of Postmedia reporters Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor you have to ask yourself which event you think an editor would have them assigned to cover that day. 


Then you have to ask yourself, would the Harperites really have extended an invitation to Mayrand if they thought he already had incendiary evidence of Conservative election-rigging? 


And before anyone goes off half-cocked, the latest consistent bad habit of the Harperites, (conducting committee hearings in camera), would leave the Conservatives totally screwed in this case. Remember that Mayrand asked for this appearance. Since this deals directly with electoral issues, shutting the doors and booting out the public would only serve to reinforce the belief that the Harperites have something extremely sensitive to hide. 

The Sixth Estate has an excellent prognosis that is a must read.

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