Monday, September 10, 2007

If the law required you to provide photo ID before voting

this would all be different!

The biggest issue in the latest veiled voting "controversy" is that our law makers appear to have not read the law they passed.

Nothing in Canadian elections law requires voters to show their faces at the polling station.

More importantly, nothing in Canadian election law requires voter to show photo identification before voting.

Now, that second part is VERY important.

Many of our politicians (led by the Prime Minister, but including members of other parties as well, including Dion and Duceppe) seem to be trying to convince the public that Elections Canada is trying to thwart the will of Parliament by not requiring Muslim women who cover their faces for religious reasons to remove their veils for identification purposes before voting.

Now, the first important point is that nothing in the new election law requires someone to show their face before voting. That's a fact.

However, I certainly concede that if the law required showing photo ID before voting then it probably WOULD be "thwarting the will of Parliament" for Elections Canada to allow women to vote without removing their veil. After all, if you are required to show PHOTO identification, then it seems obvious, even if it were not written explicitly, that that requirement would be meaningless if people were simply allowed to show photo ID, while their faces remained covered! A requirement that voters show photo identification would implicitly require women with veils to remove them, as VISUAL identification would be the obvious motive of such a requirement.

However, very importantly, Canadian election law does NOT require you to show photo identification before voting. That is, it's true, ONE of the ways you can establish your identity under the law passed by Parliament, but you can also show TWO pieces of acceptable ID WITHOUT photos. Or, you can show NO ID, and swear an oath confirming that you are who you say you are, confirmed by another resident of your riding who has had THEIR identity confirmed by either one piece of photo identification OR two pieces of non-photo identification. NOWEHERE is there a requirement, explicit or implied, that a voter be VISUALLY identified before being allowed to vote. All Elections Canada is saying is that the will not "read in" a requirement that Parliament has left out of the law.

So, there is no requirement that voters have uncovered faces when voting (which one might not actually expect to seee explicitly required) but there is ALSO no requirement to show any visual (i.e. photo) identification. So if you don't need to show photo ID, why should Elections Canada be expected to "read in" that you must remove your face veil??? WHY??? It's not in the law, and given that voters are NOT required to provide a photo card that poll workers could compare their face to, what possible reason would there be to require voters to show their faces???

Parliament wrote an election law with a hole big enough to drive a truck through. It's not Elections Canada's responsibility to throw up a roadblock after the fact. In fact, they specifically SHOULD NOT be doing so. Elections Canada FOLLOWS the law, they don't write it, and it's the fault of Parliamentarians if they wrote a law that doesn't actually do what they (they now claim, after the fact) apparently wanted it to.

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Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for your assistance in clarifying all this. We should be sending you our tax dollars; not Ottawa!

Herbinator said...

Hey, a good post.
I was expecting a 'we need power and authority' where none was needed before.

Mike said...

Shocking isn't it? Good to see Joanne and some other Cons not falling for this nonsense.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Indeed Mike,

In fact, it's clearly not even a partisan issue, frankly. Given most of their comments, I wonder if ANY of our MPs (including all four party leaders) have actually read the legislation they voted on. If so, perhaps we need to get our politicians "hooked on phonics". On this issue, I'd say it appears that stupidity and incompetence knows no partisan bounds. Thank God Mayrand read the legislation, eh?

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


As long as our lawmakers are demanding that things be read in to the Election Act that aren't there, perhaps they could do the same with the tax code!

Now, there's nothing in the law that says Canadians should send their tax money to me instead of Ottawa, but so what? Apparently it doesn't really matter all that much what's actually in the law!

I love the annonymity of blogging under a pseudonym, but if people want to send me cheques based on their "interpretation" of what Parliament intended the tax laws to be (since the laws they actually PASSED aren't all that sacrosanct apparently!) then I'm all for it! LOL.

I'll set up a P.O. Box after work today!