Vote Early, Vote Often?

In a comment under my talking voting machine post, I mentioned Scott Gilbert and voting multiple times. I figure I should explain that, since nobody would get the joke unless they lived in Guelph. Plus, I think he’s a bit of a fool. So since I can’t miss an opportunity to make fun of a fool, off we go.

Scott Gilbert, who ran in the federal election for the communist party, noticed there’s a large loophole in at least the municipal election system. Anybody can show up at a polling station, say they’re someone and that they live on a street that allows them to vote there, and then vote, without showing any ID or proof of address. Then they can go across town and do the same at another polling station, allowing one person to vote multiple times. *If* they are discovered, it’s already too late, the damage has been done, the anonymous ballot has already been cast, and you have no way of tracing it and fixing the count. He thinks anyone who doesn’t have ID should only be able to vote once in a central location. This still allows the homeless, people living in women’s shelters, and anyone who doesn’t have updated ID, to vote and such. It is a well-thought-out solution.

I have to admit, I brought ID and proof of address when I went to vote, since I wasn’t properly on the voter’s list, and they didn’t ask for either. They just took my form with the signature that says yes I am who I say I am. Luckily, for them, that is the truth.

So our young friend decided to call attention to this loophole. By doing what? Voting at five different polling stations. Don’t worry, he spoiled four of the ballots. He was caught, and charged with voting more than once, using false information, and doing so in a place where you are not entitled to vote, or whatever the technical names for those offenses would be. They could carry fines of up to $5000.

Ok, I’m glad he’s trying to seal a loophole. That’s good. If he’d tried everything else, and that was the only way left for him to do it, good on him for wanting to go the extra mile for the public good at his own expense. At least there was a point to his activism, unlike our author of eco-satire from a couple months ago. But here is where he starts becoming a fool. Well, it was actually his girlfriend who made the quote, so maybe she’s the fool, but she was speaking to the media for him, so they’re probably both fools. She said, and I quote, “He would gladly fight this in court to show that he was not in the wrong. He did it solely for the purpose of exposing this loophole in the legislation.”

You’re going to fight this? You’re actually going to try and get off? Are you stupid? Bone stupid? Even if what you did was to prove a point, your point has been made. Now, you have to suck up the fine because point or not, you broke the law, and not fighting the law is the only way your point will stick.

Yup, I can see the confusion. But let me explain. If he actually convinces a judge that he is not in the wrong, and gets off, that sets a dangerous precedent. Now, anyone who commits any kind of voter fraud can point to the Gilbert case and say, “Well, like him, I was proving a point!” Unless the prosecution can prove that the new fraudster was in fact not proving a point, they may get off too. Now, he’s opened up a legal can of worms, and shot his own idea in the foot! If he wants, after the court case is over, he can try and sue the government to get the law changed. But he shouldn’t fight the actual fine. That’s at least the way I see it. But I’m not a lawyer, what the hell do I know?

My thought is if he wasn’t prepared to pay up when he got caught, he shouldn’t have gone out on a limb like that. He did enough research using google maps and postal code lookups to get the fraudulent addresses in order to get ballots at four different polling stations. Maybe he should have done some research on the consequences before he marked his multiple x’s. I hope he doesn’t get off, and really, he should be hoping for the same thing if he has any brains.

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