Eligible voters could be disenfranchised by stricter ID rules, groups say

An advocacy group and a student organization say not allowing people to use voter identification cards as valid ID at the polls could disenfranchise tens of thousands of eligible voters in the upcoming federal election.

TORONTO — An advocacy group and a student organization say not allowing people to use voter identification cards as valid ID at the polls could disenfranchise tens of thousands of eligible voters in the upcoming federal election.

The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students are in court in Toronto today, seeking an interim injunction against a key provision of the Fair Elections Act.

The organizations want Canada’s chief electoral officer to be able to authorize voter identification cards as valid ID, a power that was taken away in the act.

Some 400,000 Canadians used the voter identification cards in the 2011 election as part of a pilot project that Elections Canada wanted to expand to the whole country.

The Harper government made changes to voter identification rules last year out of concern over voter fraud.

Speaking for both groups, lawyer Steven Shrybman says the changes are not justified as there is no evidence of people trying to vote as someone else and will only make it more difficult for some Canadians to vote.

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