Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Election Day

Recently, there has been some blather about whether or not people should be allowed to vote with their face covered, as it theoretically could permit voter fraud. This is stupid, as the current rules do not strictly require you to show photo identification to vote; comparing your face to photo on your ID should therefore be unnecessary.

There have been changes to the identification required to vote, which (intentionally or not) disenfranchises people living on First Nations reserves, people in the health care system for long periods of time, and people who move frequently due to underemployment or homelessness. There are theoretically alternative methods to accommodate such voters.

I want to live in a country where every eligible person can cast their vote. To reassure myself that this is the case, I did an experiment during tonight's election. I put myself in the place of someone totally broke, who didn't want to show her face for ID comparison, who had been in a hospital for years (and therefore didn't have utility bills, car registration, or a driver's license), who didn't own real estate, who didn't have a credit card or bank account, and who didn't attend a school or have a job.

When I was asked for ID at the voting station, I handed over a prescription pill container, and a battered 25-year-old SIN card with a prefix from another province. Neither showed my photograph.

Elections Canada states that this is sufficient identification to vote in federal elections.


The election staff refused to let me vote. They said photo ID was mandatory.

I had brought a copy of the list of acceptable ID with me (the same one that was in front of them). I pointed out the items on the list.

The election staff refused to let me vote. They said photo ID was mandatory.

I explained again that my identification complied with the Elections Canada requirements.

The election staff refused to let me vote. They said photo ID was mandatory.

I became a kindly brontosaurus, leaning against the table, smiling gently, and reiterated. They refused. I repeated.


After the fifth round of explanations, they gave up, and gave me my ballot.

Someone homeless, living in a hospital, or nervous with authority figures might not have the spoons to keep asking to vote. Having alternative methods of identification for society's more vulnerable members doesn't help if those methods aren't actually accepted. I wonder if this was an isolated issue, or if Elections Canada needs to modify the training it provides to polling station personnel.
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