POLITICS

Overseas voters will have to prove citizenship, residency under new rules

12/10/2014 05:03 EST | Updated 02/09/2015 05:59 EST
The government has introduced legislation to tighten the rules for Canadians who want to cast a ballot while living outside the country.

Under the proposed new rules, anyone who wants to vote in a Canadian federal election while living abroad will have to provide proof of citizenship, as well as their most recent Canadian address, in order to receive a ballot.

This, according to the press release announcing the proposed new rules, will prevent "riding shopping."

The new requirements will not apply to those serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.

The chief electoral officer will also be authorized to cross-reference current voting list with citizenship and immigration data to purge non-Canadians from the voting list.

The bill was introduced by Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre Wednesday afternoon. 

Court struck down 5-year limit

In a written statement, he said the new rules "will help ensure that only citizens vote, that their votes only count in their home ridings and that they show ID to prove both."

In May, the Federal Court struck down the section of the Elections Act that denied voting rights to Canadian citizens who live abroad for longer than five years.

"The [government] essentially argues that allowing non-residents to vote is unfair to resident Canadians because resident Canadians live here and are, on a day-to-day basis, subject to Canada's laws and live with the consequences of Parliament's decisions," Ontario Supreme Court Justice Michael Penny wrote at the time.

"I do not find this argument persuasive," he added.

Mobile users: Read the full text of the Citizen Voting Act here