Elections Canada

Elections Canada

March 15, 2007 17:51 ET

Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Announces Application of Supreme Court Decision on the Ban on Premature Transmission of Election Results

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 15, 2007) - The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Marc Mayrand, announced today that the ban on transmitting election results before the close of polling stations remains in force across Canada. Mr. Mayrand's announcement follows today's ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that the ban is constitutional.

The Supreme Court allowed the Attorney General of Canada's appeal of the decision of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in R. v. Bryan. The Bryan case originally challenged the constitutionality of the transmission of election results provisions as specified under section 329 of the Canada Elections Act:

No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.

Section 329 is a continuation of a provision first adopted in 1938 that bans premature transmission of results "in any manner." The underlying aim of the ban was to ensure that no electors would be influenced by results from elsewhere in Canada when they cast their ballots, and that all electors had access to the same information when they voted. This applies to any medium or transmission method, including the Internet.

Since 1996, the hours of voting on election day have been staggered so that a majority of results will be available at the same time across the country. Anyone contravening this prohibition is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $25,000.

Elections Canada is an independent body set up by Parliament.

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