Legislative amendment needed

George Macvicar
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The provincial New Democratic Party may be on to something.

Why should Elections Newfoundland and Labrador be allowing voters to mail in a ballot, upwards to four weeks in advance of an election call, to register a vote for a potential candidate or if no candidate is declared a political party?

It enshrines the old voting pattern of ‘My grandfather and my father voted for the Liberals or PCs, so that’s good enough for me!’

Former Liberal premier Joey Smallwood had a statement attributed to him that he could “run a green dog (as a candidate) along the South Coast and still win.”

How inane is this way of thinking? This is not democracy!

It’s simply voting for the sake of voting and not vetting out the policies of the parties involved, or voting for the individual or party that best suits a voter’s political philosophy.

But although the NDP is submitting a constitutional challenge regarding special mail in balloting through the Supreme Court, the way to change this is through amended legislation in the House of Assembly.

The sad point about this a challenge on this issue, or similar issues, winds up being made through the courts because with a majority government, unless it impacts government members directly, the issue gets shuffled to the back burner.

The contention of the NDP is many of the special mail in ballots are requested and submitted by individuals who no longer live in the district, in which they’re voting. An individual who now resides outside the riding, for an extended period, should not be able to cast a vote in their former riding. With secret balloting, how the NDP knows this is yet to be proven.

That individual, though, should be voting where they live.

All parties and to a certain extent all candidates are being impacted by mail in balloting. So it’s not a serious advantage for any one candidate or party.

For the NDP to try to overturn one or several district results from election night on this challenge is not a legitimate outcome. However the NDP is the party, with its lack of voter base in this province and in many cases unknown candidates, to benefit the most from such a challenge.

To be fair to all parties and candidates this change is required, but it needs to be a legislative change done in the province’s House of Assembly.

 

Organizations: NDP, South Coast, Supreme Court

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