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The biggest controversy of the election!
October 8, 2013 12:37 PM   Subscribe

It all started with a simple tweet. Nova Scotia commentator Parker Donham wanted to show his support of a local candidate by taking a picture of his marked ballot and posting it to his Twitter followers. Elections Nova Scotia took a dim view of this violation of the Elections Act, and tweeted a reply: "please be advised that your action is being referred to the RCMP for investigation", stating it is illegal to bring a recording or communication device into the polling station. Donham defends his action, and much controversy ensues.

And yes, this has become the biggest controversy of a rather boring and disappointing election, where it appears we'll vote out a one-term government for the first time in about 130 years.
posted by GhostintheMachine (75 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Keeping one’s vote secret — whether from cameras, government monitors or partisan goons — is meant to ensure that no voter faces harassment, or worse, if they vote against someone else’s (typically the ruling party’s) preferred candidate.
It's also probably meant to ensure that someone intending to sell their vote cannot verify to their buyer that they went ahead with it.
posted by Jpfed at 12:48 PM on October 8, 2013 [41 favorites]


I think they are both not wrong.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I don't believe that in the ordinary meaning of a recording device, that's what I was using. I used a camera. If you're not supposed to use a camera in a polling station, the law should say so, clearly.

Is a camera a device? Yes. Does a camera record things? Yes, it records images. A camera is, then, a recording device.

Dude, you fucked up. Save the story. Pay the fine, when it comes.

Also -- who doesn't know that you're not supposed to bring recording devices into the booth? There's signs all over the place for this sort of stuff, what you can and cannot do in a polling station.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


I gave no thought to violating the NS Election Act, let alone testing it. My only thought was to come up with an effective way to make a political statement to my fellow electors in Victoria-The Lakes.
If only there were some way for a professional political commentator to make a political statement to his fellow electors. If only he could, say, tap into a vast telecommunications network wherein he could tell them about his political beliefs and/or for whom he had voted.

You fucked up, Parker. Take the hit.
posted by Etrigan at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


But the right to a secret ballot is not the same thing as an obligation to keep your voting preferences secret.

He's right; these are two separate obligations. But both are need as a prevention measure against coercion and vote selling.
posted by Mitheral at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


I really thought this was going to be about Tuxedo Stan.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:51 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also -- who doesn't know that you're not supposed to bring recording devices into the booth? There's signs all over the place for this sort of stuff, what you can and cannot do in a polling station.

So people don't bring mobile phones into the booth? Every mobile phone made in the past decade or so has a camera in it.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:51 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


...please be advised that your action is being referred to the RCMP for investigation

Can someone please explain to an ign'nt American how that statement should be read? As in, how appropriate or absurd is that course of action?
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on October 8, 2013


Also -- who doesn't know that you're not supposed to bring recording devices into the booth? There's signs all over the place for this sort of stuff, what you can and cannot do in a polling station.

So people don't bring mobile phones into the booth? Every mobile phone made in the past decade or so has a camera in it.


I asked my (U.S.) polling place staffer about this a couple of years back (I'd never voted in-person before), and the attitude seemed to be that they see a difference between bringing a recording device and using a recording device, for just that reason. It's impractical to demand that everyone leave their phone outside the booth, but you can at least obey the spirit of the law by leaving it in your pocket.
posted by Etrigan at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Okay, I don't think the guy has undermined the constitutional foundations of Canadian governance or anything. But his argument is that he was not in technical violation of the law because a camera is not a recording device?

I don't see that flying should this end up in court.
posted by Naberius at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2013


a rather boring and disappointing election, where it appears we'll vote out a one-term government for the first time in about 130 years.

wait... why isn't that exciting?
posted by Bwithh at 12:57 PM on October 8, 2013


Can someone please explain to an ign'nt American how that statement should be read?

If a private citizen said, "I'm going to report you to the police", you'd say "sure, buddy" and get on with your life. If on the other hand an official representative of a government agency says they're going to refer your actions to the RCMP, then a reasonable person should expect that a representative of the RCMP will come to their residence and ask them some questions on the subject. They won't bust down the door at 3:00 AM with their guns drawn, sure, but they'll be coming to visit.
posted by mhoye at 12:59 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


...please be advised that your action is being referred to the RCMP for investigation

Can someone please explain to an ign'nt American how that statement should be read? As in, how appropriate or absurd is that course of action?


aka: "We believe you have violated the law, and are passing this over to the cops to decide whether they will go to court over the matter."

Technically it's going to the director of public prosecutions, I think. But either way, mhoye has the implications.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Naberius: Okay, I don't think the guy has undermined the constitutional foundations of Canadian governance or anything. But his argument is that he was not in technical violation of the law because a camera is not a recording device?

I don't see that flying should this end up in court.


It's a hilariously stupid claim. So, a camera isn't a recording device? What is the law supposed to prevent you from bringing in, then? Carbon paper? Tape recorders, so people can't record the sounds of you anonymously scribbling?
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


please be advised that your action is being referred to the RCMP for investigation

I don't buy it. How are they going to fit a horse into a voting booth?
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2013 [23 favorites]


wait... why isn't that exciting?

time, aside from being that invention we all know and love, is a bad keeper for all things evolutionary and while a celebration may be in order for the first Stanley Cup in thirty nine years, less could be said for the demise of a one-term administration, no matter how many years the streak has lasted.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2013


Regarding the lack of excitement in the campaign, it should also be noted that this was the first socialist government elected in Canada east of Ontario. That they appear to be on the way out after one term is puzzling to many.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:09 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can someone please explain to an ign'nt American how that statement should be read?

I think the thing that's interesting there is not so much that they referred him to the RCMP as that they tweeted that they were doing so. It's not so much a question of what it means to refer a possible violation of the law to law enforcement as a question of whether it's appropriate to make a public announcement to that effect.

There's a difference between having the postal inspector knock on your door with some serious questions and having them distribute flyers around your neighborhood saying that they'd like to talk to you about your tastes in pornography as indicated by recent packages you've received from foreign senders.
posted by Naberius at 1:12 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not telling anyone how I voted in this election.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:19 PM on October 8, 2013


whether it's appropriate to make a public announcement to that effect.

It's an interesting problem. They have to notify him that they're commencing an investigation, under s. 288 of the Elections Act.

If you look at the reply history, as far as I can tell they started off just with a tweet saying that it's an offence to use a recording device, signs said no cameras. He responded saying that he would remember for the next election, and that "it could just be a bit of photoshop trickery."

I can definitely accept them notifying him via twitter. That's the mechanism they have to contact him, after all. And if he doesn't accept direct messages from strangers, what else can they do? It's kind of a tough spot for them. Maybe not in this situation, where someone would know who he is and they could write a letter, but what about someone who's got a more obfuscated twitter presence?
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:22 PM on October 8, 2013


So 'old guyn gets confused by technology. And words and the meaning of words. Does something he's not supposed to and doesn't understand what is really going on.'

Also, having something referred to to RCMP is NOT like having the cops come over and chat. If it were, the cops (the local law enforcement officials) would come around and talk to you. The RCMP will investigate you. They'll pull records. You'll have to go in for interviews. They have a great deal of power, both in legal abilities and automatic weapons. They are not to be fucked with. Getting a tweet that the elections officers have just told the RCMP that you're breaking the law and that you can expect a visit should actually cause you to freak out, quietly. And maybe age 5 years and hope to fuck you haven't forgotten to hide anything incriminating.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2013


The RCMP will investigate you.

Yeah, that is sort of what I was getting at with my question. I'm not sure what the responsibilities of a national police force is and how it compares to more local police (and the above responses were helpful!)
posted by griphus at 1:25 PM on October 8, 2013


It's a hilariously stupid claim. So, a camera isn't a recording device?

It gets even better:
"In the usual sense, "recording" refers to video or audio. Not to still photos.— "

Uh huh. That'll be five thousand dollars, please.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:31 PM on October 8, 2013


Griphus, realistically for this you will get someone just out of law school spending a day looking at the twitter account, and at the picture, deciding whether or not it is likely to be a fake (and whether they can prove that), and then writing a 1-page memo about whether it's worthwhile to prosecute in terms of public respect for the law and the person-hours that would have to go into it. It might get read by someone higher-up, but probably just a verbal yay or nay will decide it.

This is not going to be a scary witchhunt. In general, yes it definitely could be. But meh.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:32 PM on October 8, 2013


This has been a truly bizarre election season here. Party positions range from a) lowering taxes by two points in the next two years to b) lowering taxes by one point this year and one point next to c) lowering taxes by two points in the next few years if they can maintain a balanced budget. The supposedly socialist NDP are in favour of large forgivable loans to mega corporations, the most right-leaning PC party wants to scrap the gold-plated pensions of politicians, and the centre-left Liberals want to break up the power company's monopoly to increase competition. It's been fun to watch, if you like shaking your head constantly.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:34 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't the RCMP just like the FBI with horses? Or are there bigger differences?
posted by FJT at 1:38 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what the responsibilities of a national police force is and how it compares to more local police.

Although the RCMP is a national police force, it also provides provincial and/or municipal policing in some provinces, including Nova Scotia. So they're not just the FBI analogue, they're also the state trooper analogue, and even the local police, depending on context.
posted by stebulus at 1:41 PM on October 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Hats, I think.
posted by elizardbits at 1:41 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


And I always assumed they were analogous to the Guardia Civil/Carabinieri/etc, no?
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on October 8, 2013


In areas without their own police force the RCMP does local police work.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 1:43 PM on October 8, 2013


So calling the RCMP wouldn't be like calling the FBI in that sense it would be the only police force to call and I believe this is the case in Nova Scotia. So it wasn't like Elections Nova Scotia was necessarily threatening to call the FBI analogue it can be read that way as the RCMP is a national force but it can also be taken as calling the local cops.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 1:45 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once let a toddler help me fill out a ballot. I may have taken a photo. I now live off grid and under the radar, waiting for the heat and preposition-laden metaphors to blow over.
posted by zippy at 1:46 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


O, Canada.
posted by Mister_A at 1:53 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


zippy, in Nova Scotia at least they encourage you to bring your kids into the voting booths, so you're safe on that score.

This is also the first election where we've been allowed to vote virtually every single day of the campaign, and just about any piece of ID is enough to prove you're eligible. Power bill and a credit card? Here's your ballot!

It's almost like they want people to think this is a democracy.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:55 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh that's interesting, the Mounties are like Texas Rangers according to Wikipedia citing some left-wing historian critiquing their involvement in LA-LA-LA That's OK, you had me at Texas Rangers LA-LA-LA

Better than Texas Rangers because RCMP has, like, a navy, and an air force, and trains and tractors and stuff
posted by Bwithh at 1:56 PM on October 8, 2013


Isn't the RCMP just like the FBI with horses? Or are there bigger differences?

I had a friend once who thought they were the Royal Canadian Mountain Police.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:58 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anything that could be used to prove to an outside party how one voted should be treated with zero tolerance, because the alternative is allowing the electoral process to be corrupted by bribery or coercion (imagine a boss calling an all-hands meeting and announcing ”Now I want everybody to email me a photo of your ballot paper with the cross next to Party A by Monday morning or you're fired”, for example).
posted by acb at 2:16 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had a friend once who thought they were the Royal Canadian Mountain Police.

Based on my experience driving all the way across the country that is where they set up the speed traps so it is a logical mistake to make.
posted by srboisvert at 2:16 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


GhostintheMachine: "This is also the first election where we've been allowed to vote virtually every single day of the campaign, and just about any piece of ID is enough to prove you're eligible. Power bill and a credit card? Here's your ballot!

It's almost like they want people to think this is a democracy.
"

We used to have one of those down south of you. It was pretty charming.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:19 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finally, the casus belli for the American occupation of the Maritimes.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:22 PM on October 8, 2013


As your employer, I remind you of my opinion that the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada ought to win the election on Tuesday. It is far superior to all rivals, especially the Communist Party of Canada (splitters!). Just my opinion, of course.

As a team building exercise, we will be comparing our polling place pictures Wednesday morning.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:29 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The railways have their own cops so no trains (but they have a gas rail car) but the Mounties have a navy, an air force, and extensive ground motor pool including cars, 4x4s, 6x6s, motorhomes, 5th wheels, ATVs, gators, motorcycles, and what ever the hell this thing is.
posted by Mitheral at 2:32 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


That is known as the Party Bus.
posted by elizardbits at 2:42 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


it is for parties
posted by elizardbits at 2:43 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've worked a couple of Canadian elections as a Deputy Returning Officer, and it was my responsibility to make sure nobody used a camera, recorder or a phone within the polling station. I was also told I was to make sure that nobody displayed a logo or even the colours of any political party.
That's right...if you show up at a polling station in Canada wearing red, blue, orange or green you can be refused a ballot and asked to leave. (In practice, this rule is only enforced for blatant head-to-toe displays of party colour.)
posted by rocket88 at 2:44 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll go you one better, rocket88. My wife is a poll clerk in a riding with an independent candidate as well. She's not allowed to wear any red, blue, orange, green, or brown clothing.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:54 PM on October 8, 2013


This is why the denim party never seems to get any traction.
posted by Mitheral at 2:58 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Anything that could be used to prove to an outside party how one voted should be treated with zero tolerance, because the alternative is allowing the electoral process to be corrupted by bribery or coercion (imagine a boss calling an all-hands meeting and announcing ”Now I want everybody to email me a photo of your ballot paper with the cross next to Party A by Monday morning or you're fired”, for example).

I personally think the law is fine the way it is, but that's a false choice. Vote selling/coercion itself can be illegal regardless of whether it's legal to document and/or publicize your vote. For example, it would be just as illegal for a boss to say "I want everyone to contribute $X to my candidate of choice's campaign fund and show me the receipt by Monday morning or you're fired", even though it's perfectly legal to have documentation proving that you contributed to a campaign fund. Just because one specific possible use of a photo is illegal, doesn't mean that taking that photo to begin with would inherently have be illegal.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:05 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


He should have photoshopped his photo to show multiple ballots. That would really bend their noodles.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:05 PM on October 8, 2013


I've worked a couple of Canadian elections as a Deputy Returning Officer, and it was my responsibility to make sure nobody used a camera, recorder or a phone within the polling station. I was also told I was to make sure that nobody displayed a logo or even the colours of any political party.
That's right...if you show up at a polling station in Canada wearing red, blue, orange or green you can be refused a ballot and asked to leave. (In practice, this rule is only enforced for blatant head-to-toe displays of party colour.)


Which is why I would only vote in the nude, if it weren't for that pesky NUDE party and their meddling.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:07 PM on October 8, 2013


"I gave no thought to violating the NS Election Act, let alone testing it. My only thought was to come up with an effective way to make a political statement to my fellow electors in Victoria-The Lakes."

Note to self: always ask someone else to look over any vehement denials I write for alternate interpretations.
posted by comealongpole at 3:08 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I personally think the law is fine the way it is, but that's a false choice. Vote selling/coercion itself can be illegal regardless of whether it's legal to document and/or publicize your vote. For example, it would be just as illegal for a boss to say "I want everyone to contribute $X to my candidate of choice's campaign fund and show me the receipt by Monday morning or you're fired", even though it's perfectly legal to have documentation proving that you contributed to a campaign fund. Just because one specific possible use of a photo is illegal, doesn't mean that taking that photo to begin with would inherently have be illegal.

I don't buy this argument. The ballot booth is a very narrow context, in which there is only one activity one can legitimately perform. The secret ballot depends on it being impossible for a third party to verify how one (who may be beholden to them in some way or otherwise vulnerable to coercion) voted. As such, the abstract right to bear cameras anywhere is outweighed by the very narrow and very concrete requirements of the electoral system on which representative democracy depends.
posted by acb at 3:26 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heh, I've violated this law as part of a link swap with a fellow MeFite.
posted by Null Pointer and the Exceptions at 3:33 PM on October 8, 2013


So calling the RCMP wouldn't be like calling the FBI in that sense it would be the only police force to call and I believe this is the case in Nova Scotia.

Yep. Outside Ontario and Quebec and Newfoundlandandlabrador, the RCMP is the only police force higher up than the city police (and there often isn't any city police).
posted by Sys Rq at 3:41 PM on October 8, 2013


Pics or it didn't happen.
posted by anazgnos at 3:42 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't buy it. How are they going to fit a horse into a voting booth?

Well, they're more like voting stalls, actually.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:48 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the "booth" is just a bent piece of cardboard (think science fair).
posted by Sys Rq at 3:50 PM on October 8, 2013


How are they going to fit a horse into a voting booth?

They don't call them "ridings" for nothing.
posted by bgrebs at 3:51 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


And I always assumed they were analogous to the Guardia Civil/Carabinieri/etc, no?

One difference is that the RCMP isn't a branch of the military (and in particular, doesn't police the military). Also, the RCMP's provincial policing is by agreement with the respective provinces, not the RCMP's prerogative, which I think is not the case for the Guardia and such.
posted by stebulus at 4:04 PM on October 8, 2013


It's true that there's no obligation to keep your voting choice a secret, in the sense that you are allowed to tell other people "oh, I voted for X." But there's a difference between telling people and offering proof of your vote, for reasons other people have covered above.

In the end, I'm pretty sure this will blow over for the guy. I highly doubt anyone's going to fine him $5000 over the incident; that seems disproportional to the severity of the crime. It's more important to get the word out that no, it's not okay to photograph your ballot, and here are the reasons why that can be a big deal—reasons that, because we live in a relatively stable and long-standing democracy, might seem quaint or unnecessary now, but are still absolutely solid reasons to keep the ban.
posted by chrominance at 4:09 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that Mr. Donham is being disingenuous as hell and deserves a $5,000 fine just for being a pain in the ass.
posted by islander at 4:16 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


who doesn't know that you're not supposed to bring recording devices into the booth? There's signs all over the place for this sort of stuff, what you can and cannot do in a polling station.

Jackasses like this guy (Nova Scotia "commentator" Parker Donham) are one reason why I never ever read newspaper and magazine columnists. What a waste of good plant nutrients.

Except for Scott Feschuk.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:53 PM on October 8, 2013


One other key difference vs the FBI is that the RCMP is ultimately the police arm of the Queen, who can recall the force to Westminster at will (although this has only happened once, during the Turnip Wars). Another is that they normally don't carry firearms, only iron-studded clubs.
posted by Flashman at 4:54 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I say fine him $100-200, but make him make a statement to the effect of “I'm an idiot and shouldn't have done that”, and publicise it widely. The point should be to educate people about the basic electoral requirement of the inviolability of the polling booth.
posted by acb at 4:58 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


BREAKING: NOVA SCOTIA ELECTIONS CALLED
posted by Bwithh at 5:16 PM on October 8, 2013


These days apathy is the biggest threat to representative democracy, not hypothetical moustache-twirling employers who demand that their employees tweet their ballots. Fining people for showing enthusiasm for voting is about the most counter-productive thing possible.
posted by Pyry at 5:38 PM on October 8, 2013


In Boston, the city elections department tweeted at somebody who wanted to show her friends whom she voted for in the Sept. 24 preliminary election: "We love that you’re excited to vote but MA statutes prohibit taking pictures of you ballot." They followed up with a hashtag: #leaveinstagramathome
posted by adamg at 7:36 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


So people don't bring mobile phones into the booth?

I voted in a municipal election this morning and was surprised to see a big "NO CELL PHONES" sign at the door to the room with the voting machines. I don't recall seeing that before, and it seemed odd. This thread has helped me sort of understand why it's there - no proof that you voted a certain way to get paid, no way to prove to your boss you voted a certain way so you don't get fired, ok, I get it - but my state law also "bans voters from receiving assistance at the ballot box" unless it's from close family or a handful of other exceptions. That part seems weird. If I can bring a piece of paper into the booth with me - my local alternarag's recommendations, e.g., clipped and carried in my pocket - then I should be able to bring an electronic list with me as well.
posted by mediareport at 8:30 PM on October 8, 2013


Also, having something referred to to RCMP is NOT like having the cops come over and chat. If it were, the cops (the local law enforcement officials) would come around and talk to you. The RCMP will investigate you

But I've had the RCMP come over and chat, just like the cops would/do. I found them much more reasonable, straightforward, and calm then the cops I've had to deal with (this in Ontario).
posted by juiceCake at 10:03 PM on October 8, 2013


For example, it would be just as illegal for a boss to say "I want everyone to contribute $X to my candidate of choice's campaign fund and show me the receipt by Monday morning or you're fired"

And didn't we just love it in the recent Australian election when Clive Palmer told his employees they were expected to volunteer at the polling booths on his behalf.
"Considering my long and continuing commitment to you and your families I expect that all those that are able to, will volunteer their time for approximately four hours on Saturday to assist in manning the polling booths."

...

Workers were left in little doubt that their willingness to work on election day would be noted, with Mr Palmer instructing them to register with Queensland Nickel human resources and development manager Damien Mines, who refused yesterday to comment.
so no explicit "or you're fired", but still...
posted by russm at 2:56 AM on October 9, 2013


I don't buy this argument. The ballot booth is a very narrow context, in which there is only one activity one can legitimately perform. The secret ballot depends on it being impossible for a third party to verify how one (who may be beholden to them in some way or otherwise vulnerable to coercion) voted. As such, the abstract right to bear cameras anywhere is outweighed by the very narrow and very concrete requirements of the electoral system on which representative democracy depends.

First of all, like I said I'm not arguing that cameras should be allowed or that it should be legal to publish evidence of your vote. My point is that preventing illegal schemes does not require making the component parts of those schemes illegal. It's today in practice relatively easy to illegally take a photo of your ballot if you actually were part of an illegal vote selling/coercion scheme. The only reason the authorities even found out about this was the public publishing afterwards (which wouldn't happen in an actual illegal voting scheme), not because they have actual great security inside the voting booths. Which is fine because those sorts of schemes are not widespread and because the scheme itself is highly illegal with little benefit to the person running the scheme, otherwise it would make sense to be in favor of things like metal detectors outside of voting booths to actually make it very difficult to run such a scheme. If it was taken a step further and everyone could legally take a photo of their ballot and share it on twitter, I don't think it would make everyone much more vulnerable to illegal voting schemes, anymore than letting it remain legal to post of photo of your debit card to twitter makes people vulnerable to bank fraud.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:04 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


acb: "Anything that could be used to prove to an outside party how one voted should be treated with zero tolerance, because the alternative is allowing the electoral process to be corrupted by bribery or coercion (imagine a boss calling an all-hands meeting and announcing ”Now I want everybody to email me a photo of your ballot paper with the cross next to Party A by Monday morning or you're fired”, for example)."
Just allow people to go back outside the voting booth, where they can declare that they mis-filled the ballot and could I trade it for a new, please. Old ballot is immediately destroyed by election staffers, new ballot handed out.

That's how it works in Denmark. Don't tell me nobody else thought of this ridiculously easy fix which doesn't require patting down people for mobile phones, wasting the Mounties' time etc.
posted by brokkr at 6:47 AM on October 9, 2013


Yeah, the "booth" is just a bent piece of cardboard (think science fair).

YES! Elections should be like science fairs! The candidate whose project most clearly demonstrates some science principle gets my vote, you bet.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:53 AM on October 9, 2013


Don't tell me nobody else thought of this ridiculously easy fix which doesn't require patting down people for mobile phones, wasting the Mounties' time etc.

I have no knowledge of Canadian elections, but I feel pretty confident that voters in Nova Scotia can request another ballot. No one is being patted down for mobile phones, and it's not a waste of law enforcement's time to investigate reported violations of the law.
posted by Etrigan at 7:27 AM on October 9, 2013


Old ballot is immediately destroyed by election staffers, new ballot handed out.

If you make a mistake on your ballot, you can request a new one. They don't destroy the old one, it's just kept in a separate pile. Elections NS is very picky about that.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:13 AM on October 9, 2013


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