The difficult fight against election fraud

by Aaron Wherry

Elections Canada released a discussion paper this week that explained the challenges of cracking down on robocall fraud and harassment.

In addition to the Guelph calls, the paper acknowledges for the first time that Elections Canada has received complaints of harassing live telephone calls at odd hours from the U.S. These are described as “numerous, repetitive, annoying or sometimes aggressive live or automated calls, as well as calls made late at night, on a religious holiday or from American area codes, purportedly from candidates whose campaigns have subsequently often denied making the calls.”

Such deceptive calls appear to be prohibited by Elections Act clauses that forbid preventing voters from casting their ballots, but the structure of the law makes it difficult to enforce, the agency reports. Even though the penalties for the breaking the elections law are light, investigators must follow the more onerous procedures required in criminal investigations. This creates “a significant imbalance between these lengthy and cumbersome procedures and the small fines that may be imposed as a result of a guilty finding, thus limiting the deterrent effect of such a finding.”

The full report is here.




Browse

The difficult fight against election fraud

  1. How do “numerous, repetitive, annoying or sometimes aggressive live or automated calls, as well as calls made late at night, on a religious holiday or from American area codes” actually “prevent voters from casting their ballots?

    Sure, they’re annoying, but so are all the commercials on TV, the junk mail, and all the ads they put out…. but nobody would say that’s “preventing” anybody from doing anything.

    • I believe the issue of “preventing voters from casting their ballots,” which isn’t expanded on here, relates to the fact that some of the robo calls were misleading voters by telling them that the locations of voting stations had changed when no such change had occurred.

      From the report “Numerous complaints about telephone calls were received around 10 a.m. on May 2, 2011. The caller was described as a recorded female voice claiming to call on behalf of Elections Canada. The message was that due to a projected increase in poll turnout, the elector’s voting location had been changed to another address. There was no truth to these calls. The caller was not representing Elections Canada, and no polling locations had been moved.”

    • So are only harassment, which should be dealt with, but the more serious offense is robocalls claiming to be from Elections Canada. The later should face jail time.

    • Easy, Rick. When your preferred party calls you in the middle of the night, or during a religious holiday that they ought to know you celebrate, or continuously or aggressively, you tend to not vote rather than vote for someone who didn’t annoy the hell out of you, but who you don’t support. And that’s voter suppression.

  2. This is simply too funny. They had the Liberal candidate in Guelph ADMIT to making fraudulent robocalls and they didn’t even bother opening an investigation, much less pressing any charges. The CRTC had to do EC’s work for them in that case.

    • They weren’t fraudulent, just didn’t follow the rules. They never made false claims, unlike the Pierre Poutine robocalls, which falsely identified themselves and attempted to misdirect voters to false polling stations.

    • What’s too funny is that every time you mischaracterize Frank Valeriote like that, you remind the good people of Guelph that they voted in the right person. You guys spent a lot of money to discover the folks in Guelph are pretty smart. And the vast majority of them are very much behind Frank. So its hilarious that spending all the money and involving your party in a criminal scandal that may linger on for years–and you STILL don’t learn from it. LOL!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *