Non-Canadian citizen in B.C. receives voter information card in mail
Published Sunday, October 18, 2015 1:26PM EDT
A Vancouver-area man is raising questions after he received a voter information card in the mail, even though he's not eligible to vote because he’s not a Canadian citizen.
David Barganza has lived in Canada since 1990, after he left India. However, Barganza has never voted in a Canadian election because he's a permanent resident – not a Canadian citizen.
So he was shocked when he received a voter information card with his name on it in the mail. He found out he's also on the voter list.
"If I'm one person who did receive a voter's registration card, how many thousands and tens of thousands of people out there have the same card?" he asked.
It's a problem that happens every election, according to David Moscrop, a PhD candidate in political science from the University of British Columbia.
"There are 26 million voter cards that go out, and a few of those are going to be mistaken," Moscrop told CTV Vancouver. "It's a fairly common problem."
Moscrop said voter information cards are generated by a variety of government sources, including the Canada Revenue Agency and provincial agencies.
Elections Canada spokesperson Dorothy Sitek said it's up to ineligible voters to abide by the rules and refrain from voting. Penalties for ineligible voting range from a $20,000 fine or up to a year in jail.
"If someone who isn't a Canadian citizen receives a voter information card, it was sent in an honest error," she said. "So it is an honour system."
Meanwhile Barganza says he hopes to vote in the next election, as he plans to become a citizen. In the meantime, he said the issue should be taken more seriously.
"Somebody's got to take a very serious look at this because it affects our entire country, it affects our democracy," he said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott