Voter targeting: the DGEQ could get more involved

The Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGEQ) could be mandated by the National Assembly to verify the nature and source of personal data collected by political parties.

L are voters targeting techniques begin to be debated within the grounds of the Quebec Parliament.

Parliamentarians will vote on a government motion on Thursday calling on the National Assembly to recall “that political parties can not use voters’ personal data without their consent” and urging the Chief Electoral Officer to look into how they collect these data. information and the conformity of these methods with the laws.

The DGEQ is “the ideal institution for this audit because it is a neutral and credible actor,” said Kathleen Weil, the Minister responsible for Access to Information and Reform. democratic institutions. He is also responsible for the application of the Election Law, which provides for obligations regarding the confidentiality of data on the electoral list.

In reply

This government motion is in fact a reply to a resolution of Quebec Solidaire (QS) rejected Wednesday by the government.

The case manager at QS, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, proposed that the political parties represented in the National Assembly make public the agreements that they negotiated “with private firms collecting data and targeting voters.”

M me Weil denied that the Quebec Liberal Party has wanted to hide something pushing this motion. She argued that her wording left the parties free to reveal what they wanted and that her own proposal embraces more broadly.

Through her press secretary, the minister later argued that her party does not buy “any personal data and does not use those of its members or supporters without their consent”. All parties say the same thing.

The ball in the camp of the elect

The Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec, Pierre Reid, for his part, has already expressed concern “by the establishment by political parties of data banks that collect information on voters without the latter having consented to this. collection”.

Everything starts from the electoral list that sends to them. It is sent encrypted, but eventually becomes available to many people in parties and beyond. Volunteers in the field, in particular.

The DGEQ suggests removing from this list the information relating to the sex and age of voters. It also recommends that they have the opportunity to refuse to let personal information about them be shared with political parties, members and candidates.

It recommends that organizations wishing to obtain the electoral list send them a privacy policy that informs voters of the measures they have adopted to ensure the confidentiality of the information.

For some time, parties have been sending the ball back to the DGEQ on this issue. They seem to be unaware that he told them, in his annual report last fall, that part of the solution is in their hands and not in his own, since a revision of the Elections Act is necessary to ensure that its recommendations come into effect – which only elected officials can do.

His possible “verification” in the parties could lead him to make other recommendations. It is not certain, however, that he could launch and complete this possible work before the next election.

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