Voter card mailed to non-Canadian citizen

Lisa Ludlow and her husband Glenn both received voter cards in the mail for the upcoming federal election. There's just one problem: he's not a Canadian citizen.

It's illegal for non-citizens to vote but at least one has received a voter information card

Some people receiving voter cards for the Canadian federal election may not actually be eligible to cast a ballot. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Lisa Ludlow and her husband Glenn both received voter cards in the mail for the upcoming federal election.

The cards contain information on how to vote, and can be presented alongside another valid piece of ID or proof of address in order to vote.

There's just one problem.

"He's not a citizen, he shouldn't be getting these, and he won't vote," Ludlow said.

"He files taxes as a permanent resident, yet for some reason Elections Canada sends him voter cards."

The couple live in Swift Current, Sask. Ludlow's husband is Australian and a permanent resident. Last election, he received a voter card as well, and at the time they contacted Elections Canada. 

But it didn't seem to matter, because once again, like clockwork, the card was in the mail.

"My concern is, how many others are getting voter cards?" Ludlow said. "If you're not a citizen it shouldn't be happening. There's a glitch in the system."

No, that doesn't mean non-citizens can vote

Elections Canada spokesperson Leanne Nyirfa stresses that just because someone receives a voter card in the mail, it does not mean they're eligible to vote.

It's illegal to vote unless you're at least 18-years-old and a Canadian citizen, even if you receive a card in the mail with your voter information.

Information about requirements to vote is printed on the mailed-out voter cards.

For the first time, Elections Canada will be cross-referencing its voter list after the election with information with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada — and any cases of non-citizen votes will be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

Those who vote illegally could be subject to fines and/or imprisonment. 

"The probability of something like this impacting the results of an election are quite low," she said.

Nyirfa said although mistakes with the mailing list are rare, they do happen. 

"There are a few ways that someone could have been mistakenly added to the list. For example, on your income tax there is a check box that you can check off if you wish to be registered with Elections Canada and some people do that accidentally so they would then be added to our list of electors," she said, adding that anyone who receives an incorrect card should contact them.

The agency uses information from 40 federal and provincial sources to create their voter list.

Voter cards have been sent out to roughly 28 million people in advance of the Oct. 21 vote. Those who did not receive a card, who are eligible to vote, can still register online before Oct. 15 or in person at an advance poll or on polling day.

With files from Stephanie Rousseau


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