2020 demonstrated that US elections are a shambles. Let’s understand election integrity by taking a look at how it’s done in Canada.
Voter satisfaction with election processes in the United States is remarkably low. Most Americans complain elections are rigged. On one side, we hear claims of fraud. On the other side, we hear claims of voter suppression. At this point in time, we see US satisfaction with election process somewhere around 55%, bimodal across party lines.
In Canada, we have voter satisfaction with election process at 98%. Let’s say that again. Ninety-eight percent of Canadians are either satisfied or very satisfied with how our elections work. We have virtually no divergence of opinion based on party affiliation or any demographic factors like age, location, ethnicity. (Opinions vary about outcomes, obviously, but everyone trusts the system.)
So, how did we accomplish this understanding election integrity? Two things stand out.
First, we provide absolutely no role for elected officials or political parties in running our elections. We run elections through an independent agency, Elections Canada, appointed by the judiciary. Other than passing the enabling legislation (in 1920, 101 years ago!) and providing candidates, politicians are not involved in election process.
Second, we follow exactly the same voting rules and election processes everywhere. It does not matter who you are or where you live, voting is done the same way. You may want to visit the Elections Canada web site for more details. Canadians might benefit from the reminder, as well.
Understanding Election Integrity – Some Nitty Gritty
We have universal voter registration. When an election is called, every voter receives a voter information card. We have very strict Voter ID requirements. You can either present your photo ID (drivers license, passport) or your information card plus one other piece of approved ID. Or, if you are indigent or lack ID, there is a third process available.
We also do redistricting every ten years. But, we do so independently without political involvement. Again, the courts rather than elected officials guide the process. You will not find any gerrymandering in Canada.
We can vote in person on Election Day or at four advance polls (no excuse required) or by mail upon application. That simple. Preliminary results are typically available on Election Day (regardless of voting method) and finalized within a week.
So, to my American friends. We have learned a lot from you. Perhaps you could learn something from us.