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Elections Canada Logo. Image Credit: Elections Canada.

Do not get overly excited about upcoming Canadian Election results when they happen as it could result in up to five years in prison or $25,000 in fines. As a result of an old law from section 329 of the Canada Elections Act, anyone who announces or sends messages about election results before all the polls in all electoral districts are closed will be subject to penalties.

Elections Canada has been adamant that it will enforce the Canada Elections Act, especially section 329, which states that “no personal shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all the polling stations in that other electoral district.”

The law was originally conceived to prevent radio stations in 1938 from influencing voter behavior on different coasts as there is wide time difference between them. While the law does not refer to social media specifically, it does fall within the guidelines.

John Enright of Elections Canada has told Vancouver Sun that “t’s not like Elections Canada will be monitoring your Twitter stream. However, if there are complaints, the Elections Canada Commissioner will investigate.” Note that Elections Canada cannot actual change this or amend the law as only elected officials can.

It is a law that should be updated for the times, but just be careful. While most who Twitter, Facebook or blog about the Election will have no problem, you do not want to be the one or two people who get hit with a big fine!

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