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14th of November 2018

International



‘ONUS IS ON THE ELECTOR’: It’s up to voters to ensure citizenship

A municipal voter is required by law to be a Canadian citizen, but the responsibility for ensuring that eligibility sometimes rests with the voter.

A person who rents or owns property in Toronto, which can be confirmed with a hydro bill, and who has appropriate ID like a driver’s licence or OHIP card, generally gets to vote, the city clerk’s office confirmed.

In that case, it’s up to the voter to ensure he or she is a citizen.

“The short answer is ‘yes,’ the onus is on the elector,” City of Toronto spokesman Deborah Blackstone confirmed in an e-mail.

Blackstone outlined the steps involved in protecting the integrity of the system.

MPAC, the provincial agency responsible for property assessments, provides a voter’s list of eligible electors that meet all qualifications including citizenship, she said.

Eligible voters who want their name added to the list have to fill out a Voter List Amendment Application and sign a declaration of qualifications on the application, including citizenship.

Those who add their names through MyVote have to acknowledge and verify they meet the qualifications.

Scrutineers have the right to object to a person voting if they feel they are not qualified and that elector would have to sign a declaration to verify their eligibility, she said.

Paula Chung, a spokesman for MPAC, said the agency is responsible for collecting information on voters – name, birth date, citizenship and school support – for municipal and school board elections.

It provides the Preliminary List of Electors to municipal clerks to finalize their voters’ lists, she said.

MPAC confirms citizenship by matching its list to the National Register of Electors and with information collected through its own database that includes property sales.

People who misrepresent themselves as eligible to vote and cast a ballot risk a $5,000 fine, she said.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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