Serious questions loom over voter eligibility and claims of voter fraud

As the election looms ever closer, more and more stories of English-speaking students being denied the right to vote are emerging.

Even students who have been here for years say they were told by revision officers that they are ineligible because they either don't meet the residency criteria or that the officers simply suspect they don't meet it.

Their decision is final. And students are wondering what they have to do to be able to vote.

McGill Ph.D candidate Sean Beattie has lived in Montreal for over five-and-a-half years. He pays taxes, owns a dog and is hoping to start a company here.

But he can't vote, according to the St-Henri-Ste-Anne riding revision committee

He said he was told by the revision official that he couldn't vote while he was a student and that the official had doubts that Beatty really a resident of Quebec - even though he had all the documentation proving that he is, in fact, a resident.

It didn't matter though: all the official has to do is harbour doubts about a registrant's eligibility to deny it.

He secretly recorded the exchange and shared it with CJAD.

"It really seems like a problem that we have this arbitrary system that you can't appeal, that they can arbitrarily deny you the right to vote," he said.

Three Parti Québécois MNAs - Bertrand St-Arnaud, Nicole Leger and Leo Bureau-Blouin - held a press conference this morning denouncing suspected voter fraud in several Montreal ridings, including St-Henri-Ste Anne. They accused students from outside Quebec are trying to steal this election.

But Elections Quebec told CJAD that there are in fact fewer registered voters in two of the three affected ridings than in 2012.

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  1. Alex posted on 03/23/2014 06:52 PM
    "He said he was told by the revision official that he couldn't vote while he was a student and that the official had doubts that Beatty really a resident of Quebec - even though he had all the documentation proving that he is, in fact, a resident." Couldn't vote while he was a student? Huh? Students, whether French or English, can't vote in this province? This official sounds like he is full of BS. I think these students need to contact a lawyer and demand that the head of elections show what the voting criteria are as set out in the statute.
  2. Norm posted on 03/23/2014 07:05 PM
    The denial of the right to vote. Since when do these little clerks have the power to interpret the election act. Marois should keep her mouth shut as she and her cohorts are denying the right to vote to the English.
  3. Herbert Thornton posted on 03/23/2014 08:35 PM
    It seems very strange that the Media and Canadian government treat allegations of election fraud in Quebec with mildly embarrassed kid gloves, but at the same time loudly denounce the very clear result of the referendum in Crimea (where there appears to be no fraud, but a population with an overwhelmingly united opinion) as "illegal".

    Would it not be more appropriate for Canada to make sure its own its own backyard is clean rather than get itself involved in the affairs of a foreign country on a different continent?
  4. ssm posted on 03/23/2014 09:34 PM
    Government officials practicing voter suppression is a far more serious threat to Quebec society than a government official wearing a hijab or a beard. Voter suppression based on ethnicity is not a valuable set of values either. Democracy !!!!
  5. steve posted on 03/23/2014 11:16 PM
    I implore anyone with the ability from CJAD or anywhere for that matter; to request the Canadian government to get involved in policing these illegalities. It is beyond the time to put a stop to all this abuse of power. Please do NOT 'give up'. If you're denied registration, do not stop until your legal rights are honoured.
  6. Jf posted on 03/23/2014 11:32 PM
    "I am not a lawyer, they are not lawyers, the decision is final". Scary. Thank you for recording.
  7. Peter posted on 03/24/2014 05:01 AM
    Pay attention, she clearly said that the emphasis is on English students trying to register, in other words the command from the PQ to completely shut out English students from voting has as been ordered, French name no doubt, English name doubt. After hearing this who can in all honesty have a doubt just how undemocratic Madame Marois and her twisted PQ really is.....
  8. Sandy posted on 03/24/2014 08:06 AM
    Bernard Ste-Arnaud is one justice minister we can be proud of...NO CREDIBILITY!
  9. Barcham posted on 03/24/2014 03:45 PM
    This is quite obviously discrimination against a specific group. I think that anyone who is refused the right to register should file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. If someone can file a complaint due to refusal of service in a bar or restaurant, or not being served in French on an airplane flight, they should surely be able to file a complaint due to having their Constitutional right to vote impeded.
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