Steep fines for posting election results early

$25,000 fine for tweeting, facebooking or blogging results before polling stations close

The first social media election is having some of the wind sucked out of its sails by a 73-year-old law that prohibits a person from disclosing election results before polls close across the country. The Canada Elections Act provision comes with fines of up to $25,000, and despite its antiquity, it’s being defended by Elections Canada. “As long as the law is on the books, like any other law, it has to be obeyed,” said Elections Canada spokesman James Hale. In 2000, blogger Paul Bryan was charged under the law and fined $1,000 for publishing results from Atlantic Canada, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court. But many experts and political insiders are calling the regulation absurd. “It’s an archaic law and in the Internet age it’s pretty much unenforceable. It’s ridiculous,” said Chima Nkemdirim, chief of staff to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, an avid Twitter user.

The Calgary Herald

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