As some Americans query the legitimacy of an electoral course of that has led to drama, delays and extended uncertainty within the U.S. presidential race, Canada’s elections company says this nation’s impartial mannequin ensures the voting system is free from political interference.
It’s been virtually two days since polls closed within the U.S. and there’s nonetheless no clear winner of the presidential election, with Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden nonetheless ready on outcomes from a handful of battleground states.
While Biden has expressed confidence he’ll emerge victorious and known as for persistence because the votes are counted, Trump declared a untimely victory for himself within the wee hours of Wednesday morning whereas claiming widespread voter fraud. His marketing campaign has since launched a collection of authorized challenges to cease the vote-counting course of in a number of states.
Natasha Gauthier, a spokesperson for Elections Canada, mentioned having a centralized company to supervise federal elections helps Canada keep away from among the contentious debates over voting rights that marred the leadup to the Nov. Three election and led to the next squabble over the outcomes.
“Having an agency that is independent from the elected government, with a chief electoral officer who is appointed by Parliament as a whole, we are nonpartisan in everything that we do,” mentioned Gauthier.
“We are removed from that politicization of the voting system that we see in the U.S.”
Elections Canada was created a century in the past as an impartial, non-partisan physique to manage federal elections in Canada’s parliamentary system. The chief electoral officer is appointed by a vote of MPs for a 10-year non-renewable time period. Returning officers — who’re employed by Elections Canada and are required to be nonpartisan — oversee the vote in every of Canada’s 338 electoral ridings.
In the U.S., in contrast, elections are administered on the state stage. Each state legislature units totally different legal guidelines and guidelines that decide the quantity and places of polling locations, the voter registration course of, which items of ID are required to vote and the processes for accepting and counting mail-in and absentee ballots.
County clerks, who administer the voting and counting of ballots within the over-3,000 U.S. counties, are elected officers in lots of states.
Fights over voting rights
The lead-up to election day was marred by brutal fights over voting rights as U.S. state politicians designed guidelines for voting through the COVID-19 pandemic.
With extra voters than ever planning to vote early or by mail, some Republican legislators sought to design guidelines that may restrict voter entry within the identify of stopping voter fraud. Critics argued they have been attempting to suppress votes in locations the place excessive turnout would profit Democrats.
A file variety of lawsuits have been filed contesting the deadline for returning mail ballots, the packaging necessities for ballots and the variety of poll drop-box places allowed in every county.
Gauthier mentioned the existence of Elections Canada helps Canadians keep away from such fights by making certain the principles surrounding voting are uniform throughout the nation. Elections Canada offers recommendation to MPs about electoral guidelines and MPs enshrine them within the Canada Elections Act, Gauthier mentioned.
“The way people vote, the ways to vote, how they are informed to vote, where they can vote, registration, the types of IDs that are acceptable at the polling locations — those are all prescribed by law,” Gauthier mentioned.
“So someone voting in Iqaluit will have the same experience at the polling booth as someone voting in downtown Toronto or Vancouver.”
I’ve by no means appreciated <a href=”https://twitter.com/ElectionsCan_E?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ElectionsCan_E</a> a lot! Elections determined by the individuals, not courts. Consistent guidelines throughout the nation. Accessible voting and fast counts. Thank you!
Canadians took to social media over the previous two days to precise their gratitude to Elections Canada in response to a Twitter submit the company despatched election day that directed individuals to the Elections Canada web site to be taught extra about what the company does.
Gauthier mentioned the submit was certainly one of its most profitable social media posts ever.
Richard Johnston, professor emeritus of political science on the University of B.C., mentioned making a nationwide company like Elections Canada to supervise the administration of U.S. presidential elections would guarantee uniform voting guidelines throughout the nation and would simplify the counting course of.
But Johnston admitted it will be a problem to implement.
“The U.S. would be starting now where we were a century ago, and doing so on a scale 10 times as great as the current Canadian situation,” he mentioned.
“So it wouldn’t be a simple task and my hunch is that the political forces at play in the U.S. would resist it.”
Kathleen Hale, director of the graduate program in election administration at Auburn University in Alabama, mentioned any try to create a nationwide elections company would run into authorized issues as a result of the U.S. structure explicitly delegates the authority to manage elections to states.
And each Johnston and Hale level on the market are main advantages to the decentralized administration of elections.
“The people who do this work, the people who direct this work, are many times themselves directly elected by the public,” mentioned Hale. “So if you don’t like the way your election ran in ‘X, Y, Z County,’ you can vote that person out the next time they’re on the ballot.”
Johnston mentioned a decentralized system is much less susceptible to takeover by an overzealous president — one thing that appears particularly related now, given Trump’s makes an attempt to say victory earlier than all of the votes have been counted.
“It’s actually harder for an authoritarian figure like Trump to push the whole system in one direction or the other because there’s just so many pockets of resistance,” mentioned Johnston.