Canadian Voter ID Problems

This story is from The Star in Canada.

Recent changes to the federal Elections Act will wind up disenfranchising more than 1 million rural voters, Canada’s elections watchdog warns. Just four months ago in a bid to clamp down on voter fraud, Parliament amended the Canada Elections Act to require that each voter produce proof of identity and residential address before being allowed to cast a ballot.

But Elections Canada now says more than one million rural Canadians do not have a proper residential or civic address – complete with street name and number – as envisaged by the legislation. Rural addresses are more often post office boxes. On native reserves, a resident’s address is sometimes simply the name of the reserve.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus is one of those who stands to be disenfranchised. His driver’s licence lists his address as Mileage 104, a reference to the original distance markers on the railway line through northern Ontario indicating that he’s 104 miles from Timmins.

In a report to political parties, Elections Canada says 4.4 per cent of eligible Canadian voters do not have the legally required residential address. The problem is most acute in the northern territories, where over 80 per cent of Nunavut voters don’t have a residential address.