Chief electoral officer fears new bill will discourage voters

Canada's Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand pauses while speaking to journalists after testifying...

Canada's Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand pauses while speaking to journalists after testifying before the Commons procedure and House affairs committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

OTTAWA - The proposed Fair Elections Act could discourage Canadians from casting ballots on election day, the chief electoral officer testified Thursday.

Marc Mayrand's overarching concerns with the proposed changes is that they will "undermine the bill's stated purpose and won't serve Canadians well," he told the committee on procedure and House affairs.

Among the proposed bill's provisions is eliminating "vouching" -- allowing a voter with valid identification to vouch for another without valid ID.

The government argues vouching leads to voter fraud and other irregularities. Scott Reid, a Tory MP on the committee, told about a Saskatchewan riding that in the 2006 federal election recorded a voter turnout of 104% and wondered whether it would have been possible without vouching.


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