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POLS 205 (35)
Lecture

Canada's Electoral Laws and Electoral System

3 Pages
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Department
Political Studies
Course Code
POLS 205
Professor
Loleen Berdahl

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Description
POLS 205 2011-01-18 Canada’s Electoral Laws and Electoral System Today’s agenda - What are Canada’s electoral laws, and how have they evolved? - In what ways do Canada’s electoral laws influence our democracy? True or False? - The particulars of election laws have little influence on election outcomes. o False. - The particulars of election laws have little influence over democratic participation. o False. - Electoral laws and electoral systems are not neutral. - Voters o Franchise  The right to vote  It has really evolved over time  1918: women  1948: Asian Canadians  1953: Inuit  1960: Registered Indians  1970: Persons 18+  1988: Judges; mentally disabled  1999: returning officers  2000: all prisoners  Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allowed more and more people to vote, based on interpretation by judges. o Registration  Anyone over 18 and is a citizen of Canada can vote.  Chief electoral officer can’t vote  Voter registration  Door to door  1993 reforms  National Register of Electors (1996) o People may be missed:  Homeless people  Out of country  Unemployed  New voters  People who move a lot o Argued to increase participation in equality o Identification  Changes were made to Canada Elections Act in 2007  Government issued photo ID  Two pieces of ID (both with name, one with address)  Sworn oath, vouched by registered voter in same poll  Court challenge existed  In 2008, 5% of voters could not vote due to documentation issues POLS 205 2011-01-18  Registered voter could only vouch for one person - System  Boundaries/districting o Electoral system  First-past-the-post system  Based on territorially defined seats  Electoral districting  Allocating seats to provinces/territories o Starts with 282 seats. Allocate one seat to each of the territories. N=282 – 3=279 o Divide total population of ten provinces by 279 to obtain electoral quota. (30,007,094/279=107,220) o Divide electoral quota into provincial population (e.g., SK 978,933/107,200) = 9) o Adjust for senatorial and grandfather clauses  Drawing constituency boundaries o Gerrymandering o Electoral boundaries Readjustment Act of 1964  Politicians drew out their own boundaries  Benefitted politicians greatly o Challenges:
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