Monday, October 22, 2007

I just watched an interesting shouting match on CTV's The Verdict. A racist, a Muslim-Women activist, and a eloquent and thoughtful Québécoise journalist. Mostly it was loud/boring but an interesting point was raised with regard to voter ID cards & the Muslim practice of wearing some sort of veil. Mr racist felt it was ridiculous that Muslim women could vote while wearing a veil - saying that it could lead voter fraud. Mlle reasonable journalist interjected that the reason Muslim women can vote while veiled is not due to some special accommodation, but only due to the absence of a law requiring ID cards to be presented at the polls. Apparently many other Canadians for one reason or another do not have ID cards (license, passport etc), and enacting such a law would require some sort of plan to deal with issuing photo IDs.

It reminds me a bit of Bruce Schneier's Movie-Plot Threat Contest that has fun at the expense of misplaced fears and useless security measures. What's the point in wasting millions of dollars to combat a theoretical problem? In practice very few women wear veils. Even if this problem does exist it's too statistically insignificant to affect the outcome of our elections, and thus probably a waste of resources.

A similar discussion over voter fraud by illegal immigrants is taking place in the US - though the percentage of illegal immigrants in America is, I imagine, larger than the percentage of hijab-wearers in Canada.

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