Robocalls, social media posts urge Canadians to vote the day after the election
TORONTO -- A series of robocalls Monday falsely informed Canadian voters that election day is Tuesday.
Voters in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reported receiving an automated telephone message urging them to head to the polls on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
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In fact, Monday, Oct. 21 is the last day to vote in the Canadian election.
Greg Fergus, the Liberal MP running for re-election in the riding of Hull-Aylmer, warned his followers in a Facebook post about the erroneous messages.
Nick Gamache, a spokesperson for Elections Canada, said they are aware of the situation but doesn’t believe the incident is widespread.
“We are aware of reports about some electors receiving robocalls indicating that election day is on a date other than today,” Gamache told CTVNews.ca. “This is not something that appears to be widespread at this point.”
The misinformation was also spread on Facebook where a number of posts targeted supporters of the Liberal, Bloc, NDP and Green parties, telling them that voting had been moved to Tuesday and Wednesday of this week rather than today. The Facebook posts did not appear to gain much traction online.
Willfully misleading voters in order to prevent them from voting is illegal, he said.
Chris Russell, a Newfoundland man who registered an organization named Canada Strong and Proud as a third party in the federal election, confirmed to CTVNews.ca that the group was behind the robocalls but he suggested the misinformation was the result of a misunderstanding.
“Our vendor had leftover calls that stopped when they were supposed to stop on Sunday, but they turned on the remaining small percentage of the calls today which (were) meant to be left unused,” he said in an email. “Those were the calls that said “vote tomorrow” as they were scripted to be used the day before the election.
“We have called everyone who got the message and corrected it,” he continued. “We certainly weren’t involved in any efforts to deceive voters of any stripe.”