Eligible voters could be disenfranchised by stricter ID rules
TORONTO — Denying people the ability to use voter identification cards as valid ID at the polls could disenfranchise tens of thousands of eligible voters in the upcoming federal election, advocacy groups warned in court Thursday. The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students are seeking an interim injunction against a key voter identification provision in the Fair Elections Act, passed last year. The Harper government made changes to voter identification rules last year out of concern over voter fraud. The organizations want Canada's chief electoral officer to be able to authorize voter identification cards as valid ID, a power that was taken away in the act. Without a voter identification card, voters need a piece of photo ID with their current address or two pieces of ID, one with a photo and one with a current address. “At least in the tens of thousands would not be able to vote because they wouldn't have access to those two separate pieces of identification,” Maude Barlow, national chairperson for the Council of Canadians, said outside the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. A constitutional challenge of the act is in the works, but that won't happen until after the next election. The council and the federation want the injunction so those who need to use the voter identification cards will be able to this fall.