Wednesday, 9 April 2014

>@CWP_CSP Voter vouching upholds a Charter enshrined right to vote @FairElxnsAct ... for the most disadvantaged groups.

As the member of the Canada Without Poverty Board for the NWT, I forward this statement from out Executive Director Leilani Farha:
"...While the Fair Elections Act would continue to allow for 39 forms of ID, ranging from a bank card to government cheque stub to health card or drivers license, there are no provisions to ensure individuals lacking those types of ID can still vote. The vouching system upholds the Charter enshrined right to vote for those individuals who do not have traditional forms of ID, individuals who most often come from disadvantaged groups. For example, voter vouching has been essential to those experiencing homelessness – people living on the streets or in shelters – whose identification is sometimes stolen or lost. Without voter vouching, their right to vote will be denied. It is also essential for Aboriginal peoples living on reserve, students, people living in rural areas without public offices or amenities such as libraries, those without access to transportation, and those, like women fleeing domestic violence, who unexpectedly find themselves without any ID at all. Legislation pertaining to the most fundamental democratic rights must ensure protections for the most disadvantaged groups.
Let's be clear – by eliminating vouching the cornerstone of democracy will be denied to thousands of people. The Chief Electoral Officer has stated that removing vouching as an option will impact over 100,000 people. Voter vouching upholds a Charter enshrined right (to vote) for groups who are in precarious situations, including groups that are meant to be protected by the Charter. Vouching must be maintained...."
Leilani Farha
Executive Director

CWP recommends that the Government stop talking for a moment and reflect on the fact that it is about to rob tens of thousands of disadvantaged Canadians of their democratic citizenship. 
Maintain vouching. Work collaboratively with Elections Canada to fix the vouch voting system so that it functions more effectively.
In a true democracy, all voices matter.

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