Since advanced voting opened last week, Elections Canada has been actively dispelling posts claiming that pencils provided at Elections Canada polling stations increase the risk of election fraud. The polling stations are using pencils that could be intentionally smudged or altered to spoil voters’ ballots. These online claims on election fraud can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
On social media, posts suggest voters bring pens to their polling station to prevent their ballot from being tampered with to avoid election fraud.
The posts express concerns that ballots marked in pencil can be smudged, invalidating the ballot. But also, that pencilled selections could be erased or altered to “rig” the election. Although both of these allegations are unlikely, Elections Canada is required by law to provide black lead pencils at polling stations.
Due to COVID-19, voters will be provided with a personal, single-use pencil to mark their ballot in hopes to decrease the spread of the virus. These pencils do not have erasers on them.
To clarify with the public, Elections Canada tested one of the pencils provided at polling stations on a sample ballot. The ‘X’ smudged slightly, but not enough to distort the mark, even when rubbed with water.
As a response to these social media claims, Elections Canada makes it very clear on their website and social media that voters can bring their writing tools such as pens, or markers to write their ballots without seeing them discarded. Elections Canada also clarified that there are numerous integrity measures to ensure that ballots are not tampered with.
Workers at polling stations also work within full view of the public; meaning, they would there would be witnesses to any vote tampering. There is also two scrutineers and party representatives are posted at every polling station to prevent tampering.
Elections Canada has demonstrated that making ballots with pencils does not increase the risk of fraud, if you are still concerned about using a pencil on your ballot, you’re both encouraged and entitled to bring a pen or marker. Originally sourced by: https://www.ctv.ca/shows?cid=ps%3A8324