More electors are coming forward to say their names were inexplicably missing from Quebec’s electoral list, meaning they weren’t able to cast their ballot in Monday’s provincial election.
That includes Magy Gerges from Kirkland, in Montreal’s West Island, who saw her faith in the province’s electoral system shaken Monday when she said she and friends went to vote and weren’t allowed to.
“We get in and they don’t see our names on the list,” the engineering student told Global News. “We didn’t have the card that was supposed to come to our house.”
That’s the confirmation form which says that a person is registered to vote.
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According to Gerges they voted in past provincial elections and their address hasn’t changed, so they’re baffled about why they weren’t registered.
She is the latest among a number of people who told Global News their names appeared to be dropped from the electoral list, something which concerns political scientists like Dónal Gil.
“It’s really discouraging and disheartening to hear about this issue regarding people showing up and being disenfranchised on the day of the election,” said Gil, a political science professor at Dawson College.
On Tuesday, Elections Quebec told Global News that citizens are responsible for ensuring they are registered to vote before election day.
Experts like Samantha Reusch, executive director of Apathy is Boring, a group that educates youth about democracy, agree but she believes Elections Quebec can do more to make the process easier.
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“I believe the system can be very confusing for a lot of citizens,” said Reusch. “Especially when there are discrepancies between the federal regulations and the provincial ones.”
Electors can register to vote on election day for a federal election, but not a provincial one in Quebec.
“We just voted in a federal election last year so a lot of people remember those rules,” Reusch noted.
She believes it would help if both systems had the same rules, especially when it appears names are dropped by mistake.
In a statement to Global News, Elections Quebec said they have found explanations for all the problems that people reported.
“I reiterate that to our knowledge, there are no more cases than usual,” wrote spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud Drolet. “Moreover, we did not encounter any problem during the extraction of the electoral list or during the revision of the list.”
Experts Global News spoke to believe that Quebec does have a good electoral process.
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“The system has been much better over time to make (voting) as easy as possible,” said Guy Lachapelle, a Concordia University political science professor.
Gill stressed however that authorities must be vigilant.
“We should never rest on our laurels with regards to people being being able to vote,” Gil argued. “We’ve seen democratic decline and backsliding across many liberal democracies across the world today, including one of the oldest democracies in the world, the United States.”
Gil and other experts doubt the problem is widespread, but argue that the issue of names being missing from electoral list in Quebec needs to be fixed.
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