Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault Tuesday released a recommendations report which proposed recommendations to further regulate electoral communications and broaden access to mail-in ballots.
The Canada Elections Act allows the Chief Electoral Officer to “propose amendments to the Act designed to improve the administration of federal elections.”
The report seeks to make it easier for voters to mail in their ballots by allowing voters to apply to vote by mail 45 days before the election and allowing voters to vote for a political party by mail instead of a candidate for Member of Parliament.
A focus of the recommendations report is the recommendation to create a new offense for individuals who make false statements “to undermine the legitimacy of the election itself or the counting of the votes.” However, the report states that in order “[t]o protect freedom of expression, the threshold for any provision that seeks to circumscribe speech must be high.”
Chief Electoral Officer Perrault released the following statement regarding the recommendations report:
This report is the beginning of an important conversation with parliamentarians and Canadians on ways to improve out electoral process. It is a critical exercise that we must periodically undertake to ensure the vitality of our democracy in the face of evolving circumstances, challenges and aspirations.