Backgrounder: Fair Elections Act – Cracking down on Voter Fraud

Each time someone votes fraudulently, they cancel out the ballot of an honest voter. Studies commissioned by Elections Canada demonstrate mass irregularities in the use of vouching and high rates of inaccuracy on Voter Information Cards. Voters will still have 39 forms of authorized ID to choose from, to prove identity and residence. That Fair Elections Act will protect the integrity of the vote by ending risky practices that are prone to errors and irregularities. 

Vouching

According to the Neufeld Report, commissioned by Elections Canada relating to administrative deficiencies at the polls in the 2011 election, vouching procedures are “complex” and there were irregularities in 25% of cases where vouching was used.  Even with increased quality assurance, the report indicates that the problem would not be remedied. Vouching is risky and subject to high levels of irregularities.  This was identified in the Neufeld Report:

“Identity vouching procedures are unquestionably the most complex ‘exception’ process administered at polling stations. The level of irregularities for vouching averaged 25 percent. During two of these elections, quality assurance programs involving Onsite Conformity Advisors (OCAs) were applied. However, vouching irregularities still averaged 21 percent during the OCA monitored elections. This indicates that overly complex procedures cannot be remedied simply by improved quality assurance.”

The Fair Elections Act will:

  • End vouching; and,
  • Require in law that Elections Canada communicate what forms of ID will be accepted at polling locations so that voters will know before they head to the polls what they will need to bring.

Prohibit Voter Information Cards from Being Used as Identification

Other than as pilot projects in recent elections, Canadians have always voted without using the Voter Information Card as a proof of identification and residency.  

However, media reports since 2011 have shown that the use of voter information cards as ID presents proven risks of voter fraud. Illegal voting is not a laughing matter. Voter Information Cards are regularly sent to electors with inaccuracies that could allow those attempting to subvert election law to use them to vote more than once or in the wrong riding. An Elections Canada report on the last election showed that roughly one-in-six eligible voters do not have a correct address listed on the National Register of Electors, which is used to create the voters’ lists used to produce the Voter Information Cards. In other words, 1 out of 6 electors may get a Voter Information Card with the wrong address.

The Fair Elections Act will:

  • Prohibit the use of Voter Information Cards as a form of acceptable identification; and,
  • Require in law that Elections Canada communicate what forms of ID will be accepted at polling locations so that voters will know before they head to the polls what they will need to bring.

Even with this change, Canadians will continue to have 39 other authorized forms of ID to choose from when voting.