Elections Canada and the Univ. of Guelph vote

Elections Canada has found that the votes held at the University of Guelph followed the rules and will be counted, despite the lack of prior authorization for the vote:

“All information at our disposal indicates that the votes were cast in a manner that respects the Canada Elections Act and are valid,” the statement said.

Conservative National Campaign Chair Guy Giorno, in a series of tweets, applauds the Elections Canada “decision not to disenfranchise the student voters,” saying students shouldn’t suffer because of the mistakes made by local elections officers.

This, of course, runs entirely counter to the demand letter sent by the Conservative general counsel, Arthur Hamilton, to the Chief Electoral Office yesterday which stated:

“We require immediate confirmation from the CEO and the Returning Officer from the electoral district of Guelph that this ballot box and all of its contents will remain sealed and that none of the ballots contained therein will under any circumstances be combined with, added to, or otherwise dealt with when the final tabulation of votes cast for the various candidates in the elector district of Guelph takes place.” [my emphasis]

Supreme Court Justice  Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé once said a legal argument shouldn’t suck and blow at the same time. This is a fine example of sucking and blowing.

By the way, it’s the returning officers under the Elections Act who have the duty to establish advance polling districts (and choose where they go) and then inform the Chief Electoral Officer they have done so, not the other way around:

“168. (1) Each returning officer shall, as directed by the Chief Electoral Officer, establish in his or her electoral district advance polling districts that consist of one or more polling divisions.

(2) The returning officer shall give the Chief Electoral Officer a description of each advance polling district that is established.”

‘As directed’ doesn’t mean that the Chief Electoral Officer selects or sets up those voting stations or subsection (2) would make no sense. That’s the Returning Officer’s job. It looks to me as if the only error here was that the Returning Officer for Guelph failed to provide that description to the Chief Electoral Office. As for the other allegations raised by Mr. Hamilton, it looks like none of them were upheld by Elections Canada.


Peggy’s regular blog posts on writing and getting published will resume on May 3rd, after the Canadian election.

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