We are writing to request information to update the International Register of Electors. This request is a result of a July 20, 2015, ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal, which took effect immediately.
… To receive a special ballot at the upcoming election, you must provide:
– The month and year you plan to return to Canada to reside
The implementation of this ruling demonstrates the imperfect nature of restrictions on expat voting—not only does the law have an arbitrary 5-year bar on voting from abroad, but for all expatriates Elections Canada is demanding a crystal clear declaration of the date they will return to Canada.
I think it’s worth noting that the underlying text of the statute only requires that an eligible elector “intends to return to Canada to resume residence in the future.” Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9, § 222(1)(c).
The agency could likely have fulfilled the statutory requirement by requiring only a simple checkbox that I do, in fact, intend to return to Canada “at some time in the future.” But that’s not what they did.
See also my previous two posts on this subject: Let me vote, dammit and A little more about expat voting in Canadian elections.