Harper dashes any hope of 'vouching' at the ballot box

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks during a demonstration of packing kitchen sets by the...

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks during a demonstration of packing kitchen sets by the Canadian Red Cross that will be sent to the Philippines to help with the relief effort for Typhoon Haiyan, in Mississauga, April 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:04 PM ET

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper quashed opposition hopes Thursday that polling booth "vouching" could be restored in the government's controversial Fair Elections Act.

One of the most contentious aspects of Bill C-23 is the proposal to eliminate vouching - when a voter with valid identification vouches for another without proper ID.

Tories defend the move, saying it would prevent voter fraud and that there is currently 39 forms of ID that can be used to vote.

Opposition parties and other critics say eliminating vouching would disenfranchise voters - particularly seniors, students and First Nations, groups most likely to use vouching and least likely to vote Conservative.

Vouching has already been eliminated in at least five provinces and one territory. Testifying before a House committee Thursday, Assembly of First Nations CEO Peter Dinsdale said the bill appears to be unfair.


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