The prospect of having non-citizens voting in an election that is so important is extremely concerning. With the stakes being so high, you would be foolish to think that people would not take the risk and vote illegally. I recently reached out to Elections Canada. There response was pretty quick and to the point.
To: Media – Elections Canada
Subject: Voter registration cards
We are following up on some reports from individuals who are not Canadian citizens, but still received a voter registration card. Giving them the opportunity to vote illegally.
We would like to know what the mechanisms in place within Election Canada’s system that ensure people given registration cards, are actually Canadian citizens, and what measures are being taken at the polls to ensure that these votes are not submitted if objected to?
I thank you in advance for your quick reply.
Here is their response to my email:
With the enactment of Bill C-76 earlier this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is now authorized to share their information on permanent residents and foreign nationals with Elections Canada, something we had been asking for since 2013. In April 2019, IRCC provided initial information to Elections Canada for the first time and we identified approximately 103,000 potential non-citizens in the Register. IRCC subsequently sent us revised data and the number of suspected non-citizens in the Register was corrected to 85,000, from which we removed approximately 74,000 records (the others were confirmed to be Canadian citizens). Elections Canada is continuing to analyze IRCC’s data and cross-reference it with other information to verify the eligibility of individuals and remove those who are not eligible to vote. In addition, after the election we will be able to cross reference our data with IRCC’s data, and determine if anyone who is not a Canadian citizen cast a ballot. Those cases will be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections when appropriate.
It’s important to remember that being on the Register or receiving a Voter Information Card (VIC) are not tickets to vote. At the polls, electors must prove both their identity and their address. They can use their VIC to prove where they live, but it cannot be the only piece of ID they present. We cannot by law demand to see proof of citizenship at the polls, as there is no single, common document proving citizenship that every Canadian is obligated to hold (for example, not everyone has a passport). Signs posted at polling sites remind voters they must be Canadian citizens and be 18 and older to vote.
It is not an offence to be on the Register or to receive a VIC by accident. What we are finding is that in most cases where a non-citizen has received a VIC, it is because they inadvertently checked the box on their CRA tax return requesting that their information be shared with Elections Canada. The VIC asks the person receiving it to notify Elections Canada of any errors.
Registering to vote, or attempting to vote, when you are not entitled to do so is an offence under Canada Elections Act . Any such cases will be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
As before mentioned, I do not put any trust in people not voting illegally simply because they are worried it is a crime, but it would seem that the numbers are low enough not to really make a difference. That is if the records shared are indeed accurate. With the current Liberal ministers in charge of these reports, I would not put it past them to not provide a complete list, for their own internal reasons, of course. The bill merely ‘allows’ sharing, it does not force its compliance.
I only hope that polling stations post the proper notices to inform potential offenders of the consequences associated with this offence to our democracy.
Regardless, without a concerted effort, these ‘loopholes’ could not be exploited in a way that would make any difference to the overall outcome of the elections. They should still be monitored closely, and always remember that you, as a citizen, can fill out an objection form for any suspected illegal vote. If you have actual proof, not just suspicion, please report the incident to polling officials and make sure you fill out a form yourself. These infractions should never be taken lightly. They are a direct attack on our democratic system. Any relaxation will erode at the very foundation of our society.
I will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as I receive them. If you have any information please contact me at email@example.com