Voter fraud isn’t real. Voter suppression is.
Denise Balkissoon talks to Steven Shrybman about voter suppression in Canada
In an op-ed published in the Toronto Star, Denise Balkissoon discusses how the myth of widespread voter fraud is used to justify voter suppression efforts, both in the US and Canada. She spoke to Steven Shrybman, who has fought voter suppression efforts in Canada.
Voter identification laws are the “bedrock” of suppression, said Ontario lawyer Steven Shrybman. He’s representing the Canadian Federation of Students and others in a coming Charter challenge because, yes, voter suppression happens here, too.
Most notable was the 2011 robocall scandal, when about 6,700 automated phone calls were placed on the morning of a federal election with misleading information on how to vote … Even so, Mr. Shrybman is more concerned with a slow chipping away of accessibility, which is what he thinks the former Conservative government was aiming for when it passed the Fair Elections Act in 2014.
“If you’re a Conservative strategist and you realize that demographics aren’t your friend because of the increasing youth characteristic of the voting public, why not try to keep people from voting at all?” Mr. Shrybman said.
Among other troublesome moves, the act made voter information cards ineligible as proof of address, even though they’re based on Elections Canada records. This penalizes those who move often. Mr. Shrybman mentions as an example postsecondary students who keep their parents’ address on their driver’s licences until settling down after graduation, which is exactly what I did in my twenties.
The Liberals made an election promise to repeal the act, but haven’t. If they don’t do so soon, the Charter challenge begins in January
Voter fraud is a myth here, too: Mr. Shrybman said the only true Canadian cases have involved people with dementia. Meanwhile, Elections Canada reports that 172,000 people were unable to vote in the last federal election owing to identification rules.