The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Elections Nova Scotia has referred three cases to the RCMP of people allegedly sharing a photo of their marked ballots on social media in violation of the province’s Elections Act, but one of the accused says he doesn’t believe he broke any law.
Nova Scotia votes
The act says nobody in a polling station during voting hours can use a recording or communication device with the exception of election officers.
Dana Doiron, a spokesman for Elections Nova Scotia, said the use of a camera in polling stations and showing a marked ballot constitutes a violation.
Doiron said there are signs posted at polling stations that say cameras are not allowed and information officers will remind people of that if they see anyone using their phone.
“Any breach of the act is serious to us, and we can’t pick and choose which aspects of the act we will enforce or not,” Doiron said Sunday.
Doiron would not identify who allegedly breached the act, but Elections Nova Scotia identified Parker Donham as one of the accused on its Twitter feed Saturday.
Donham, a communications consultant and political blogger, said he posted a picture of his ballot Saturday to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
But Donham said he doesn’t believe he violated the act because it doesn’t clearly state that cameras are not allowed.
“I think it’s, at best, ambiguous,” Donham said Sunday.
“The word camera isn’t mentioned. The word photograph isn’t mentioned.”
He said by sharing the photo with the public, he was exercising his freedom of speech and if the legislature is restricting that, then they should do so in a clear and concise way.
“Political speech is at the very heart of the principle of freedom of speech. It’s the most protected kind of speech,” said Donham.
“To say that you can’t tell people who you voted for and offer some proof of that? It’s a little far-fetched.”
Donham said he did not see any signs at the polling station where he voted in the riding of Victoria-The Lakes in Cape Breton that said cameras were not permitted.
The violations carry a fine of up to $5,000, but the penalty is minimized for people who unintentionally violate the act, Doiron said.