Elections Ontario cracks down on ballot photos

A voting station in Don Valley West riding in Toronto. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

A voting station in Don Valley West riding in Toronto. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Sheena Goodyear, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:35 PM ET

Vote-happy Ontarians who tweeted pictures of their ballots Thursday were given a stern talking-to by Elections Ontario.

The Elections Ontario Twitter account spent a chunk of election day asking people to take down their ballot pictures.

"Every law that we have pretty much is designed to protect the integrity, the security and the accessibility of the vote," said Elections Ontario spokeswoman Liz Armstrong. "People are not supposed to bring electronic devices in the polls."

If a news station showed up to a polling station with a huge camera, Armstrong said they'd be sent away immediately.

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"But when you have something very small in your pocket, it's hard," she said. "The laws are set up before the development of technology."

Globe and Mail media reporter Simon Houpt was among those targeted after after he tweeted a picture of his unmarked ballot with a joke about not being able to find a "minority government" option. The Globe has endorsed the Progressive Conservatives, but only as a minority government.

While many came to Houpt's defence, citing free speech and noting the ballot was unmarked, pictures of marked or unmarked are both in violation of the Election Act.

Section 42 prevents anyone from "displaying his or her ballot to any person so as to indicate how the lector has voted" and from operating communications devices in the polling station.

Breaking these laws could result in a $5,000 fine.

 

 


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