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How I (could have) Stolen The Election

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

54 Comments

Written by Scott Gilbert

When I first heard that you didn’t need ID or proof of address to vote in municipal elections I was shocked. I called the City Clerk to check and she confirmed that the municipal elections act of 1996 does not require polling clerks to see proof of ID, address, age or citizenship.

Hearing this, I just couldn’t help myself, so I came up with a plan to expose this absurd loophole. First I called the Guelph Mercury to try and get them on board. At first they declined, but the following morning I got a phone call notifying me that the editors had discussed it and that we were in.

We knew that if I actually voted, I would really open myself up to criticism and legal action. However, since the elections act says things like “you cannot vote twice” then we thought we might be able to get around it by spoiling the ballots. What I did was overvote, meaning that I checked off every name on the ballot. This spoils the ballot and does not count as a vote for or against any candidate, and therefore does not influence the outcome of the elections. For the record, I did not even cast one real vote for the candidates of my choice. I felt it was better to forfeit my vote than to open myself up to criticism that I was favouring any specific candidate in my voting.

If this ever goes to court, we will probably have to prove that the ballots were in fact spoiled, so I rented a pinhole spy camera from a spy store in Toronto. This colour video camera was so small that I was able to fasten it inside the breast pocket of my shirt and poke a very small hole in it for the lens to peek through. I was therefore able to capture the mission on video and audio.

We started shortly after the polls opened on Monday morning. We drove to the main office of the Guelph Mercury to pick up Greg Mercer, a Mercury reporter. Julia Chapman, news editor of the Ontarion, was also present. From there, four polling stations were randomly selected. We thought that two could be perceived as a fluke, three would be incredibly good luck, but four would show that anyone could in fact go to any polling station and vote.

Later in the day I shaved my long hair off, removed my glasses, and put on a dress shirt and tie. I looked very different than before. With my new identity, I went back to the first polling station I attended and attempted to vote again in the exact same place. In every case I did not encounter any resistance. I was asked for ID once, but when I said I didn’t have any, they let me vote anyway. In every case I made sure to spoil the ballot.

It truly amazes me at how easy it was to pull this off. You can’t vote in the CSA elections without proper ID. You can’t even purchase a glass of beer without proper ID, even if you are of age. Although some people think municipal elections are not a big issue, there is in fact a lot riding on them. Development in Guelph has been a contentious issue in recent weeks, and developers have huge financial stakes in who gets elected to city council.

With the overall voter turnout being about 40 per cent, in a city of 100,000 an election is in many cases won by a very small margin of votes. What I showed was one person could very easily vote at all 67 polling booths. With some minor changes to your identity, you can easily vote again at the same polling station twice. And in a ten-hour period you can get around to a lot of polling stations. It is not unreasonable to assume a single person could rack up 100 votes for the mayor in the course of a day.

Despite the fact that Karen Farbridge won this election by a whopping 5370 votes, a single Greyhound bus that seats 55 people would easily have been enough to sway the election the other way. The situation for city councilors is much more evident as seen be the fact that new ward 1 councilor Kathleen Farrelly won by a single vote. This is the point I was trying to make with my little experiment.

In the United States, there is a considerable amount of evidence that the Republican Party (and to a lesser extent the Democratic Party) is employing tactics to steal elections. University of Guelph professor Michael Keefer has written extensively on this subject and his work can be found at this website. Despite the incredibly large amounts of money, and huge numbers of people needed to pull this off through vote suppression, the rigging of electronic voting machines and the removal of eligible voters from the voting list, all of these tactics only sway the end result by about five per cent.

But here in Ontario you do not need vast amount of money, people, or coordination. All you need is a handful of people to take one day off work and you’re in. I could easily vote myself into office as a councilor just by getting my close friends to help me rig the election.

We have too much faith in our electoral system. The City Clerk told me (and the Guelph Mercury) that there was no way anyone would get away with voting improperly because if you don't have ID, you will have to take an oath. Although an oath was required at some polling stations, it was not at any of the ones I attended. Even if it was, it will not prevent anyone from voting if they are determined to do so. If we have so much trust in the general public not to steal votes, when there are huge financial stakes in who gets elected, then why do we not have the same trust in the general public not to steal, say, candy bars? The financial interests of a teenager stealing a candy bar compared to a developer looking to get property zoned a certain way for a new housing complex are incredible. If the government thinks we do not need to have tighter rules for elections, then why do we have a police force that is used to stop candy bar theft?

Although the stunt I pulled will probably cause me to get fined or charged (I have not yet been despite some people thinking I have), I personally think it is worth it. The potential legal ramifications are a $5000 fine and/or six months in jail. Several major news media including 680 News and the Globe and Mail have picked up on this and are going to do further stories if the City Clerk and the Guelph police decide to take this to the next level. If they do, I wouldn’t necessarily object because it would raise the specter of the issue to the level it deserves – where we can have a province-wide debate about the way municipal elections are carried out. A lawyer has already offered to represent me if this case goes further, so I eagerly await the knock on my door.

As for the general public, I am hopeful my actions will be seen not as a crime but as a wake up call. Our democracy is seriously threatened by this loophole and I hope this stunt will initiate some changes. Either way, I welcome the debate that is sure to follow.

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  1. Posted by: John L on Nov 16, 2006 @ 12:57am

    So...

    You're, theoretically, required to sign a sworn statement affirming your eligibility to vote in the election if you don't have more appropriate documents? It appears the real problem, rather than being a "stunning loophole" is a failure to apply policy.
    I'd imagine it'd be a pretty straightforward undertaking to put very stringent policies in place as to exactly what ID, proof of residence, etc. is required AND require polling staff to stick to it, however this would probably have consequences for lots of perfectly legitimate voters who can't/haven't had the time to get the proper documentation. Where do we draw the line? Ultimately I believe the thinking is that the vast majority of voters are willing to play by the rules

  2. Posted by: rach on Nov 16, 2006 @ 11:01am

    woah, i didn't know that this could happen! that's kinda neat that someone in GUELPH did that! good job in exposing the loophole!

  3. Posted by: on Nov 16, 2006 @ 12:05pm

    John,

    I agree that having rules requiring ID to be shown might hinder the ability of valid voters to cast their vote if they do not have the proper documentation.

    What I propose is that we have one seperate polling station for those people. That way, each person without ID could only vote their once, as opposed to everyone being able to vote at all 67 polling stations. You would be able to catch statistical inaccuracies (if between 100 and 200 people voted without ID in each of the past 5 elections, then in one election 2500 people voted without ID, it would raise some alarm bells).

    If, for physical reasons or otherwise, you cannot make it to this separate polling station, then a poll clerk could come to you. This is how they do it in the federal election.

    I agree with you that most voters will play by the rules, but the point is that all you need is one person, who has 20 or so friends (who can come from any place on the planet) to exploit this loophole and the whole electoral process is then a sham. The way it currently stands, if the Mercury did not report on this, there would have been absolutely no way for them to find out that this had been done, let alone remove those ballots from the final tally.

    Scott.

  4. Posted by: skeptical steve on Nov 16, 2006 @ 5:36pm

    I think that this is an interesting project - but seriously - there are too many faults with the existing municipal voting system to get bogged down in conspiracy-based loopholes like this. I agree that it is important to decrease the ability of a voter to commit fraud. But is thecannon.ca insinuating that such fraud has taken place in the past? I think that activists should spend more time fighting for limits on corporate donations to elections (the real reaon, not fraud, that Quarrie won the last election), fighting to allow recent immigrants - who have yet to become landed - to vote, or to make running in an election more accessible by trying establish a city fund to encourage people to run. Or maybe even fighting to raise the visibility of issues (like affordable housing) that are often overlooked come campaign time.

    I guess I applaud Scott for pointing out this problem - I just think that there are more worthwhile projects to take on (the CSA's attempts to get students out to vote being an example of a more productive use of time)

  5. Posted by: Concerned Student on Nov 16, 2006 @ 11:09pm

    Am I the only one here that thinks that this was highly inappropriate? Sure, Scott and Bre may have pointed out serious flaws, but Scott still fundamentally committed perjury by voting in more than one place. Bre should also be held accountable, since it was she that drove Scott to all the polling stations, thereby making herself an accessory to the crime.

    It is a moot point that Scott had spoiled the ballots, and I feel that this will reflect negatively on the entire student population, especially since the involvement of Bre Walt makes it seem as though the CSA had endorsed this act of delinquency.

    As a member of one of, if not the most visible student organizations on campus, I believe that Bre has represented us poorly to the outside community. Since the majority of her portfolio as Local Affairs Commissioner involves representation of the student body to the community of Guelph as a whole, I believe that this act has had a negative impact on our reputation in the community. In this capacity, I believe that Bre has not acted in the best interest of the student population.

  6. Posted by: john k. on Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:00am

    Concerned Student: you need to calm down a bit. From a legal perspective what Scott did isn't that big of a deal. Perjury? Sorry. The best Scott's going to get as far as charges go will be a violation of the Municipal Voting Act. It's the legal equivalent of driving without insurance - and it's not a crime per se (insofar as it doesn't fall under the criminal code)

    On a less petty point - It's unfair to go after the Local Affairs Commissioner on this one. Was the stunt misguided? I would say so. But the CSA (love them or hate them) did a fantastic job on the elections - the voter turnout in the University's ward attest to that.

  7. Posted by: Gonzalo on Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:10am

    Read the article; Scott did not commit perjury since, incredibly enough, he was not required to give an oath to back his identity up. He should've been, but he wasn't, so it's not perjury.

    And no, spoiling the ballots cannot possibly be moot. It is the difference between pulling this stunt to prove a point and pulling this stunt to commit electoral fraud. There is a huge difference of intent there.

  8. Posted by: John L on Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:44am

    I'd imagine the issue is whether or not he deliberatly misrepresented himself on a legal document. Was he required to afix a signature declaring that the information given was factual/true to the best of his knowledge? Most forms, government and otherwise, have a bit requiring the person to declare that the information given is valid and I'd imagine the declarations Scott made have the same.
    The issue really isn't what Scott did with the ballots he received, rather the issue is whether or not he committed any sort of offense in order to receive them. In any event it'll be decided by folks who know far more about the Law than any of us here.

  9. Posted by: on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:08am

    What I signed required me to confirm that I was a Canadian citizen, and of age to vote - both of which I am. The form said nothing of signing confirming that the address I used was correct. Regardless, the fact that I used addresses of friends etc is a non-issue. Sure, fine me for this - there are many people in Guelph who support what I did and will pay the fine for me because I raised into the realm of public discussion the larger issue of the potential for fraud by some one (or group) who does not publish their name associated with improper voting, and thereby commits genuine voter fraud.

    And Steve, no, we do not have any evidence of voter fraud thus far, but the fact is that if someone were doing it, there would be absolutely no way to detect it under the current laws. Yes developers gave a huge amounts of money to the Quarrie campaign, but please draw the connection here - it would be easier for them to just get a few of their friends to vote multiple times than to give Quarrie money and try to make her look good in the media. It seems they did not pick up on it this time around, but after this stunt, if the laws are not changed, I fear they will next time. Lets get the laws changed and save our democracy.

  10. Posted by: on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:24am

    concerned student,

    I am personally inviting you to come by my office so we can discuss the 15 hours per day that I put in during the elections, representing students. If you do not think I am doing my job, please come tell me to my face instead of hiding behind the alias "concerned student".

    Cheers,

    Bre Walt
    "Concerned CSA Executive Member"

  11. Posted by: Kasia on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:35am

    I applaud you Scott! When I first read that ID and proof of address was not required to vote in the municipal elections, I thought it was a misprint. How could I vote for the leaders of Guelph if I couldn't prove that I live in Guelph? This concept was so foreign to me that I actually refused to believe it was true!
    I really hope you don't get into any serious trouble with this, but I also hope this incident gets the widespread attention it deserves to raise awareness of this issue.

  12. Posted by: Concerned Student on Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:09pm

    Please re-read my original post. I did not mean to imply that Bre did not fulfill all of her duties as Local Affairs Commissioner. I just feel that her involvement in this "experiment" may not have portrayed the student community in the best light. And yes, I’ll admit that in my opinion, the manner in which people were allowed to vote (ie. no ID etc.) raised more than a fair share of eyebrows, and this does need to be seriously investigated by the proper authorities.

    To John K.: Not once did I mention that Bre did a bad job with the elections. I recognize the hard work and effort that she put into this. It just seems to me that this stunt has represented the students poorly since it seems as though the CSA, through Bre, was endorsing it. Since it seemed that Bre was endorsing it, I felt that it had a negative effect on our student organization’s reputation.

  13. Posted by: Concerned Student on Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:09pm

    To Gonzalo:

    Municipal Elections Act, 1996: Article 89 states that a person is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000, if he or she:
    (b) votes more times than this Act allows;
    (c) votes in a voting place in which he or she is not entitled to vote;

    Article 90 states:
    If, when a person is convicted of an offence under section 89, the presiding judge finds that the offence was committed knowingly, the offence also constitutes a corrupt practice and the person is liable, in addition to any other penalty, for imprisonment for a term of not more than six months.

    Hence, it does not matter in what spirit the transgression occurred, the party involved should still be held accountable.

    To Bre: I feel as though my words were a bit harsh. However, I also feel that what I am saying is justifiable as you do represent us students to the Guelph community. I feel as though this stunt could give the citizens of Guelph the wrong impression of us students as a whole.

  14. Posted by: Chris Eldridge on Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:52pm

    Congradulations Scott, for exposing this critically important loophole in the Guelph voting system! You and Bre have singly handedly save us from the horders of non-Guelphies from comingn here to influence our electio...

    Wait, hold on. Most people I've met outside of the Guelph/Tri Cities/GTA don't even know where Guelph is. Let's be honest here, the reason Elections Canada and all the other organisations you called didn't take any action is because....they don't care. Why? It's a non-issue, no one cares...it's not a problem.

    Seriously, you need to stop taking up causes that either don't matter, no one cares about or are so trival that they inspire hilarity.

    You've graduated dude, go out, get a job, start contributing to society and drop the whole 'angry-student-changing-the-world' deal. It's old, not cool anymore (the 70's end decades ago) and you've really haven't accomplished much have you.

    But when all those out of towners come to take over our city in the next election...then maybe you'll have been right. Haha

  15. Posted by: on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    Chris,

    First, I have not graduated. Second, Elections Canada is not doing anything because they do not have jurisdiction in municipal elections. Third, to say that no one cares about this issue is not based on anything. The Mercury would not publish it on the front page if it was a non-issue. I would not have received a flood of emails if it were a non-issue.

    And nobody needs to come in from out of town. There are plenty of people living right here in Guelph who have a financial interest in who gets elected. Even candidates. Why go through the hassle of taking a month or more off work and spending all the money on campaigning if you could just get a few friends to vote you in? This issue is fundamental to our democracy so I feel you are rather alone if you characterize it as "trivial".

    As for what it will accomplish, lets wait and see how the new city council reacts to it. I would be very surprised if they do not take steps to correct this loophole for the next election.

  16. Posted by: on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:35pm

    Concerned Student:

    American Heritage Dictionary:

    v. vot·ed, vot·ing, votes
    v. intr.

    1. To express one's preference for a candidate or for a proposed resolution of an issue; cast a vote: voting against the measure.
    2. To express a choice or an opinion.


    A spoiled ballot is not expressing a choice, opinion, or preference for a candidate. If you see the above posted video footage, every candidate's name was checked, thereby not voting for anyone. These laws are intended to prevent people from actually voting more than once, and therfore unfairly influencing an election. This is not what I did, and what I showed was that the laws themselves have holes in them because they do not have the effect of actually preventing people from voting. I did not even cast one real vote, yet I could easily have done it multiple times and there is absolutely no way that anyone would have known. This is a problem that needs to be fixed.

  17. Posted by: h on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:37pm

    congrats scott on admitting that you did not graduate and are no longer a student here. why not admit that the only reason you won a csa seat is cause of all the csa bylaws that stop people from knowing about the candidates. Why did it take one Mr. Thomas Ferguson who attempted to expose Bre as your girlfriend ( all pay your fines if you can prove she would have been elected if the studenmt body had known this) for you to get all these ideas to expose local gov't. why couldnt you have worked to fix up csa elections so people can know who their voting for?

  18. Posted by: on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:47pm

    H:
    Please reference the CSA by-laws you are referring to. I assume you mean the one relating to email lists, and the reason candidates are not allowed to use email lists is because certain people have access to more than others, which make it unfair to their opponents. Your claim that I won my seat on the exec because of CSA by-laws is nonsense. Please explain yourself further. I spoke in every single class timeslot, had a website, answered emails, attended the public debate, and had more posters than any other candidate. Bre got elected on her own accord. A very offensive email was sent out over a restricted listserve by Mr Tom Ferguson. It was sexist, contained numerous inaccuracies, and would be an embarrasment to the author if published in the Ontarion. Many people on the listserve strongly objected to it, and all the candidates who Ferguson endorsed rejected his rationale and did not want his support. Bre won by a larger margin than any other candidate, and never once hid the fact that she was dating me. If you take issue with CSA by-laws, why don't you do something constructive and speak with your college representative on the CSA board who can propose a change?

    Tom Ferguson attempted to influence the CSA elections, while I did not attempt to influence the muncipal elections. How can you take issue with me while trumpeting Ferguson? Further, his email did nothing to sway the voters he was trying to hit. The Aggies have the voting power to blast CSA elections out of the water, and they voted on mass. Ferguson's email was clearly seen as petty nonsense or else Bre would not have been elected. I suggest you get your facts right and make a well reasoned point.

    And why not identify yourself? Do you have something to hide about who you are? Do you have a conflict of interest here that others might object to? I wonder.

  19. Posted by: h on Nov 17, 2006 @ 1:57pm

    you may wonder a lot of things but i simply do not wish to be associated with the leftleaning csa or thecannon.ca

  20. Posted by: on Nov 17, 2006 @ 2:01pm

    yet you post on it, and are clearly checking frequently. you just don't want people to know who you are because it will embarass you. Are you Tom Ferguson? It wouldn't surprise me, and would explain a lot.

  21. Posted by: Chris on Nov 18, 2006 @ 6:13pm

    Oops, sorry Scott. Thought you graduated when you left the CSA.

    Next, so then why did you contact elections Canada. Sorry, should have used another example from your list of people you contacted.

    Now finally, why is it front page news in the Mercury and why did you recieve a flood of emails (even though you did not specify, were they emails supporting you or mocking you?)....because it's GUELPH!!!! We need something to get enraged about in our happy, quiet, no-street-parking and silly garbage rules feel good town. Whoopie, you've done the equivalent of exposing an employee spitting in the Timmies coffee in Norway House, Manitoba.

    Again, buddy...if your going to be a PITA (pain in the you know what) activist, at least do it for causes that matter...not half-rate silly little problems you find in a city no one can find on a map. Like, it's sad. At least for me.

    Want a story? Expose all the drug dealers working the downtown core. I work in the 'nightlife industry' and wackos wandering downtown Guelph are a bigger problem then a little voting loophole. But wait, talking bad about drugs isn't socially progressive it? Legalise, not protect! Sorry, I digress.

  22. Posted by: on Nov 18, 2006 @ 6:14pm

    Give us access to the 'flood of emails' you got to see if they support you or not. I don't think they do. Don't try to smoke and mirrors approach so common of the modern-day left...won't work.

    Oh, and my email is up for those who want to flame me some more. You should put yours up to 'h', some backbone is good.

  23. Posted by: Chris Eldridge on Nov 18, 2006 @ 6:40pm

    Protect the democratic system? Hold on.

    Pick your battles, want to protect the democratic process....change the CSA's stance on Canada's mission in Afghanistan or the previous mission in Haiti, that is protecting or spreading democratic ideals, not exposing some loophole in Guelph's oh-so 'big deal' municipal election system.

    Yeah, thought so. Don't tell me the CSA cares about real world, important issues. It's about petty little things, like a mosquito bite, that matter so little in the grand scheme of things but...to the ignorant masses (yeah, I said it) scores you some big points.

    Don't feed me this junk that you and by extension the CSA want to protect the democratic system (heck, your best buddy Scott ran for the Commie party didn't he?), you support motions that further erodes democracy for normal people (tell me what soft drinks I shouldn't be able to buy on campus, what kind of coffee I should be allowed to buy, tell me that I have to use YOUR health plan and not another one I want for example) and then ignore real moves at democracy that matter AROUND THE WORLD, not in some little Ontario city.

    Here it is, the big kicker, Guelph is not a major anything! Get over it!

  24. Posted by: Aisha Parkhill-Goyette on Nov 18, 2006 @ 7:33pm

    Hey Scott,
    voting without ID is not a loophole in the system. It is designed to allow homeless people the right to vote, as they obviously have no address, and often no ID. I agree it is disgraceful that the people who work the elections were either poorly trained, or properly trained but chose not to follow protocol. But please don’t push this issue, it will only encourage more rules and regulations and make it harder for an already marginalized group to vote. Thanks,
    Aisha

  25. Posted by: j on Nov 19, 2006 @ 11:16am

    Is there really enough of a homeless issue in Guelph to warrant this?

  26. Posted by: on Nov 19, 2006 @ 1:18pm

    Aisha & J:

    J: There is a homeless issue in Guelph, and there is an even larger one in Toronto. These laws are province-wide so they impact homeless people across Ontario.

    Aisha: I couldn't agree more. The last thing I want to do is suggest that homeless people should not be able to vote, or others who - for whatever reason - don't have ID.

    Here is a copy of what I previously posted above as a suggestion for a way to address this issue. Please comment on it and suggest holes in it or ways to strengthen it:

    There could be one seperate polling station for voters without ID. That way, each person without ID could only vote their once, as opposed to everyone being able to vote at all 67 polling stations. You would be able to catch statistical inaccuracies (if between 100 and 200 people voted without ID in each of the past 5 elections, then in one election 2500 people voted without ID, it would raise some alarm bells).

    If, for physical reasons or otherwise, you cannot make it to this separate polling station, then a poll clerk could come to you. This is how they do it in the federal election with "mobile" polling stations.

  27. Posted by: Dave H on Nov 20, 2006 @ 3:46pm

    Hello members of this discussion!

    Feel free to participate as long as you limit your statements and critiques to the issues and arguments. Please refrain from directing criticisms specifically at fellow debater.

    This applies to members of the student populous as well as members of the Central Student Association.

    Thank you!

    - Dave

  28. Posted by: tired of scott on Nov 20, 2006 @ 10:46pm

    Probably the worst thing with this mess is bringing the video camera into the polling place. That is potentially a huge violation of privacy. It doesn't matter what your intent was, that is a major issue.

  29. Posted by: on Nov 21, 2006 @ 12:46am

    Dear "tired of Scott":

    It is not a violation of privacy. Every day you are being filmed by cameras without your concent - every time you enter a store, every time you walk past a bank, and even in your own home. Ever seen Google Earth? Now that is an invasion of privacy. I did not post anything with a clearly identifiable face. If you feel that a portion of the clips posted are too revealing, I will remove them. Please ask politely, and identify yourself.
    Scott.

  30. Posted by: Chris on Nov 21, 2006 @ 11:50am

    Hello
    You must have a lot of time on your hands to be doing these kinds of actions. I think there are more pressing issues to students at this university than an election in Guelph. Come on we all know there are problems with elections, it didnt need this action to prove it to us.

  31. Posted by: Chris E on Nov 21, 2006 @ 8:34pm

    I'm adding my last name's initial since we seem to have another Chris here.

    I think 'tired of scott' is right. You have no right to bring a video camera into a polling station or booth.

    Google Earth takes pics of houses and cars, there isn't that much detail (I know, it's on my computer).

    Same with stores etc, you go in to the store knowing you will be filmed to prevent theft. That's not invasion of privacy. But you bringing a video camera into a polling station is a major violation of privacy for those people in there, the have a right to complete privacy while in the polling station.

    And in your own home...what? Tin foil hat getting a little think there Scott, think CSIS is filming you or something?

    I am offended by you putting up those videos, and if you had any shread of professionalism (which I doubt you do), you would remove those videos and delete all evidence of them. I do have half a mind to call the police and ask them if what you did is legal or not?

  32. Posted by: Chris E on Nov 21, 2006 @ 8:34pm

    Now wouldn't that be fun, you'd be a real 'freedom fighter' then, getting arressted for 'exposing the man' (read this as 'being an annoying wanker).

    What you did was wrong, an invasion of privacy and possibly illegal. Remove and delete the videos and photos.

  33. Posted by: Chris V on Nov 21, 2006 @ 10:26pm

    I agree with Chris E's agrument in regards to being taped and about removing those videos from the internet. I would also be interrested in hearing what the police has to say about this.

  34. Posted by: Chris E on Nov 21, 2006 @ 11:53pm

    And t-minus how many hours until this discussion gets shut down for not toeing the CSA's party line?

  35. Posted by: Gonzalo on Nov 22, 2006 @ 1:02pm

    We do not shut discussion down based on its toeing or not the "CSA party line." I've worked here for almost three months and I have not yet been told to toe, protect or defend a "party line."

    We might delete individual posts if they're libelous or offensive, because we may be legally held responsible to the third party that you might be libeling or offending.

    We may also shut down discussions after a while (2-3 weeks) because articles not on the front page are more likely to be spammed.

    If you have a question or complaint about how discussions are moderated or about an individual post that might have been deleted, please contact us and we'll be happy to get back to you.

  36. Posted by: Chris V on Nov 22, 2006 @ 2:06pm

    Hey
    You are right Chris E and you a very valid point there. Despite what Gonzalo is saying, we know how the CSA is run, so it wouldnt surprise me if it gets shut down.
    Im surprised Scott Gilbert has not responded to any of these last comments in regards to his "stunt" he pulled off

  37. Posted by: Gonzalo on Nov 22, 2006 @ 2:34pm

    First of all, Thecannon.ca is a joint venture by the CSA and Guelph Campus Co-op. We are overseen by an operating committee with members from both organizations. It is not the CSA's playground and we (the staff) have editorial freedom.

    If you contend otherwise, then you're going to have to do better than "we all know" and "it wouldn't surprise me." Proof, in the form of a deleted post or a shut-down discussion, would be a start.

    Second, if all your post says "Scott Gilbert is an idiot" (and believe me, I've deleted posts that were variations on that theme), of course it's going to be pulled down. Refer to the style book of any major newspaper publication and see what they have to say about personal attacks.

  38. Posted by: on Nov 22, 2006 @ 3:52pm

    Chris,

    The videos have been removed as requested. They were posted as evidence that the ballots were actually spoiled, and this purpose has now been served so they have been removed.

    On the issue of Google Earth, there is far more than just houses and cars. Remember, people are usually in houses and cars, both of which usually have windows you can see through. If you think for a second that you can get the highest quality images for free you are wildly misguided. They most certainly lower the quality just enough to be socially acceptable. The cameras do not shoot just straight down, but also to the side, which is how you can see the sides of buildings - and through the windows of buildings with a higher resolution photo. To think the cameras used to create Google Earth do not take photos that capture what goes on inside your home is naive. It is highly unlikely that the camera resolution is just enough to see what they do, and if it is, by now they have been improved. Play around with photoshop and you will understand photo quality, and buy a $100 digital camera today, and then another 2 months from now and see if there is a difference. Think about it. It's not a conspiracy theory cooked up by people who wear tin hats. It's common sense.

  39. Posted by: on Nov 22, 2006 @ 4:04pm

    ps - you wanna call the cops on me? go for it. The exact details of what I did have already been plastered all over the Guelph Mercury for over a week (not to mention they attended the stunt) so I'm sure the cops are well aware. The City Clerk has stated several times in public that she has notifed the police of my actions. They are bound legally to charge me if I have committed any crimes, balancing both the ability to get a conviction and the public interest. I hold office hours every Monday from noon till 3pm in the cannon office on the second floor of the UC. The cops are welcome to come see me any day they wish if they feel what I have done is criminal and worth of a charge. After over a week they have not. If you want to call them, go right ahead.

    Scott.

  40. Posted by: Chris V on Nov 22, 2006 @ 5:37pm

    I see nothing wrong with Google earth and you are causing more hype than anything else.
    I wonder if I wrote my posting the way Scott does I wonder how long they would be up for. Im guessing not very long
    Second Scott your response show that you have dont have any good arguments to support what you did.

  41. Posted by: tom on Nov 22, 2006 @ 5:42pm

    Dear Chris V:

    Your comments show that you need a grammar lesson.

    tom.

  42. Posted by: on Nov 22, 2006 @ 5:43pm

    Chris V,

    I do not plan to take on Google Earth any time soon. The point I was trying to make is that having a video camera on me and filming people without their prior concent can't be called an invasion of privacy if Google Earth is not.

  43. Posted by: on Nov 22, 2006 @ 5:47pm

    Chris V,

    Also, you can have harsh tone in your postings, challenge people, etc, you just can't use profanity or say something about someone that isn't true. What about my posting would be removed if someone else wrote it?

  44. Posted by: Chris E on Nov 23, 2006 @ 2:50pm

    Why are we arguing over Google Earth? Yeah, you can buy detailed photos of peopel's license plates of you have a couple hundred bucks lying around. But Google Earth cannot take pictures of people IN voting booths. I'll tell you right now, satellite photos DO NOT have the capability to take photos sideways of people in a polling station to see what they are writing. But taking a camera into a PRIVATE booth (designed to be private) is an invasion of privacy. The comparison is not even close. Satellite photos can get detailed photos of license plate numbers and people's faces (well, those are those super secret military ones)....but not inside a place of residence, or polling booth or whatever. Until we develop x-ray vision, satellite photos will not be able to see through walls and ceilings into places like...ohh..polling booths that could be filmed by a camera brought in.

    You were in the wrong. Pure and simple. Quite frankly, you should go to the police station yourself (hey, film that one), show them your footage and turn yourself in to see once and for all if what you did was illegal. If you do this, fine, I'll stop saying what you did was illegal...and stick to calling it stupid and unprofessional.

  45. Posted by: Chris V on Nov 24, 2006 @ 10:48am

    Great posting Chris E, very well put. I totally agree what you said. I doubt he will go to the police, that would take courage

  46. Posted by: Jorgen (Zeke) Baker on Nov 24, 2006 @ 9:54pm

    I can actually vote twice federally, basically Jorgen is totally impossible to pronounce for English speakers and my middle name Ezekiel is long and cumbersome so I've been moving towards Zeke. I've been so consitent about it I am now registered twice with the government. I report it each election but they haven't fixed it.

  47. Posted by: Chris on Nov 25, 2006 @ 10:59am

    Zeke examples goes to show they dont take enough care of the voting system, so Scott pulling off your stunt here in Guelph wont change anything and nobody will care.

  48. Posted by: Dave on Nov 27, 2006 @ 1:04pm

    I agree with all the comments posted.

    The best way to get something fixed is to defraud it and then argue about it over the Internet.

  49. Posted by: Jail Time for Scott on Nov 29, 2006 @ 8:21am

    In any election process, there are ways to commit fraud. Federally, provincially, municipally, on campus... if you want to be a jerk, use fake documentation and lie, you're good to go. Scott Gilbert didn't prove there's any NEW problems in any election process. Watch me vote at everyone polling station on campus, everyday at the CSA elections. Think it'll be hard? Look at me, I'm proving an obvious point!

    For the city (and other levels of government), the only thing you CAN do it throw people in jail and give people heavy fines when they DO commit fraud. I agree that yes, the system doesn't work, but that's because Scott isn't behind bars eating peanuts with his new friend Bubba... if someone actively says "I'm going to commit fraud", ship em out and get people to give the democratic process some respect.

  50. Posted by: on Nov 29, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    Chris E, it is not illegal to videotape yourself during the voting process. Anything you do inside that voting booth is your prerogative. Many people take photos of their ballots "just in case". (in case of what, i don't know)

    If he were to take his camera in to the police and tell them what he did, they'd look at him like he was nuts.

    NOW, videotaping others and their ballots would be another story. Scott never claimed he did this.

  51. Posted by: Bob on Nov 29, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Hey Scott,

    I think that you are a valuable media resource for me and fellow students at U of G, and I appreciate much of your work as the resident shit disturber. However, some shit doesn't need to be disturbed. I think you have good intentions, but you need to recognize the good intentions of others. The reason why it's so easy to vote is that Guelph has a pathetic voter turnout, and the powers that be were hoping that the well publicized ease with which people can vote would encourage voting, and that the zealots will cancel each other out. It's friggin' obvious. This isn't America where billions of dollars would be spent on rigging an election. It's Guelph municipal politics. And hey, Farbridge won. The system worked. Everybody knows that it's easy to cheat. It's obvious. What's wrong with you? Have you run out of ways to appear like an anarchist? Or, have you run out of ways to appear like a journalist? This isn't interesting. You don't deserve the attention. Go back to organizing informed speakers and doing the job you were so good at: providing students with IMPORTANT information, rather than using your array of outlets to drive voter turnout down and election costs up.

  52. Posted by: g on Dec 7, 2006 @ 3:31pm

    Notice how EVERYONE that the guelph civic league promoted won or came real close. What if Scott just tested his idea and videotaped that, then when they knew it worked scott told people and they jumped into action and actually did fake vote multiple times. While I can accept that GCL could convince people to vote for most of the candidates, but all of them?

  53. Posted by: Scott Gilbert on Dec 8, 2006 @ 7:31pm

    oh boy, i've missed several posts. in short, no i did not film other people voting so how is filming myself an invasion of privacy?, no you would not be able to vote multiple times in a csa election because you have to present ID and your name is crossed off a list, and no, i have not been charged or fined. if this was such a serious crime that it could land me behind bars, then why haven't the cops come after me? i have publicly challenged them to arrest me and publicized where i can be found. since the stunt two seperate lawyers contacted me and offered to represent me for free. how often does this happen when a crime is committed? and as for google earth, the camera used for those photos most certainly can see inside a car window, a house window, and even inside a polling booth if it's beside a window.

  54. Posted by: denise on Aug 1, 2013 @ 8:51pm

    I guess there was no sense of worrying about this seven years ago if the electoral system was just going to move online anyhow. I can just host a party and BAM at least 50 votes right there in my pocket. No need for poll clerks, no need for policing of stations. Are we really naive enough to think that everyone will respect democracy and not even think of messing with the elections?

    Buying votes has never been easier.

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