Permanent resident mailed voting card, despite being ineligible
Published Saturday, October 17, 2015 12:40PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 18, 2015 1:16PM PDT
A Metro Vancouver man has serious questions for Elections Canada after receiving a voter information card in the mail – even though he’s not eligible to vote.
Surrey truck driver David Braganza has lived in Canada since leaving India in 1990. He’s never voted, however, because he remains a permanent resident and not a Canadian citizen.
That’s why he was so surprised when a voter card arrived in his mailbox.
“I have no idea how they got my information and deemed me eligible to vote,” Braganza said.
Not only did Braganza get a voter card, he’s also on the voter list – meaning he could cast a ballot on Monday if he brought the proper ID.
“I’m one person who did receive a voter’s registration card,” he said. “How many thousands or tens of thousands of people out there have the same card?”
David Moscrop, a political scientist with the University of British Columbia, said federal voter information is gathered from a variety of sources, such as the Canadian Revenue Agency and other government agencies.
According to Moscrop, improperly mailed cards are a fairly common problem.
“There’s 26 million voter cards that go out, and a few of those are going to be mistaken,” he said.
But voting when you’re ineligible – even if you’re on the voter list and have received a voter information card – is still illegal, with penalties including a $20,000 fine, up to a year in jail, or both.
Elections Canada spokeswoman Dorothy Sitek told CTV News there are no firm numbers on how often people are sent voter information cards by mistake, but insisted it happens very rarely.
“If someone who isn’t a Canadian citizen receives a voter information card, it was sent in an honest error,” Sitek said.
“It is an honour system. We expect that somebody would let us know that they received the card incorrectly, and we would then strike them from the list.”
There are signs posted at every polling station reminding people they must be a Canadian citizen to vote, Sitek added.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Sheila Scott