Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Update on Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

From the Globe and Mail:
Door prizes were used to lure voters, band says
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 Page A10

Shell Lake, Sask. -- Residents of a northern Saskatchewan Cree reserve were offered the chance to win prizes to get them through the polling station doors for the Jan. 23 federal election.

Fletcher Greyeyes, head councillor for the Ahtahkakoop First Nation, said everyone who voted was entered into a draw for a TV, portable stereo and a DVD player. He denied allegations that the raffle was limited to those who voted Liberal.

The reserve is in the northern riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, where Liberal challenger Gary Merasty defeated Conservative incumbent Jeremy Harrison by 73 votes. Mr. Harrison said he has applied for a judicial recount. CP
On the Ahtahkakoop poll, see also here and here.

Update to the Update The Star Phoenix reports on the process.

1 comment:

Wrye said...

Ahhh, I see where there might be a problem. I was just a part-timer for Elections Canada, so I can't quote chapter and verse, but:

While at first blush offering an incentive to vote seems harmless (Elections Canada itself wants to increase voter turnout, and the main reason they don't offer, say, free coffee and donuts would be the immense expense), the right to the privacy and confidentiality of the vote also extends to the right to keep private whether or not someone had voted at all.

So for instance, although Party scrutineers are allowed to check who has voted and who hasn't, the general public can't. You as a member of the general public can't be nosey and ask if your neighbour has voted. But if everyone who voted has to enter their name in a draw...their privacy then becomes problematic.

Depending on how it was done, it was probably legal, and likely ethical, too. But it's pretty unusual.