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Sunday, October 06, 2019

Yellow Vest Poll Monitoring: Know Your Voting Rights

As many may know we have been monitoring the activity of the yellow vest groups, especially their online activity for 10 months. Since we began this project we have seen yellow vest members mention monitoring polling stations:

To be fair some of the Yellow Vesters pointed out that this wouldn’t be a good thing, but many did agree:

Now it’s unlikely that most Yellow Vesters will engage in any kind of poll monitoring, however recently Yellow Vest member Richard Todish was filming outside of an advanced polling station in Orillia, Ontario:

In the past he was also arrested for filming cars outside of the employee parking lot of a police station:

People need to be aware of their voting rights, and the laws regarding polling stations:
Only voters, election officers, candidates and their representatives, and observers authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer may enter the room where voting is taking place, as per the Canada Elections Act. Media may not enter. 
While voting is under way, media may shoot photos or video footage from the door, as long as they do not impede voters or compromise the secrecy of the vote. After the polls close, media must leave the polling place. They may not be present for the count.
Photographs, recordings and communications devices(4) A candidate’s representative(a) shall not take any photograph or make any audio or video recording at a polling station; and(b) shall not, if he or she uses a communications device at a polling station, impede any elector from exercising their right to vote or violate the secrecy of the vote.
If anyone asks you for identification at a polling station, make sure they are either an Elections Canada official, or law enforcement. Anyone else asking for identification (especially if they’re wearing a yellow vest) should not be obeyed, and should be reported to elections Canada and/or law enforcement.

One other issue worth mentioning regarding the Yellow Vests and poll stations, is that you aren’t allowed to have partisan signage (either for or against) in or around polling stations:
Elections Canada is committed to creating a neutral area around the polls to help ensure the impartial administration of elections. We limit partisan material only as much as necessary to maintain the neutrality of all polling places. We recognize the importance of balancing this objective with the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
The Canada Elections Act prohibits posting or displaying any partisan material in polling places (including campaign signs). In practice, what this means is that partisan material cannot be posted or displayed in the room where the vote takes place, in the hallways leading to the room, or in the entrance to the closest door. In many cases where there may be several entrances, or one from the parking lot and another from the sidewalk or bus stop, it also means that partisan material cannot be posted or displayed anywhere in or on the building where voting takes place, or on the property on which the building is located, including the parking lot.
Please be aware that polling places are meant to be neutral, and signs for or against a political party are forbidden, and if seen elections Canada representatives should be notified.

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