Defying Election Law

By Palser, Barb | American Journalism Review, January 2001 | Go to article overview

Defying Election Law


Palser, Barb, American Journalism Review


Canadian programmer posts vote tallies on the Web before polls close

Today's free speech crusaders are as likely to possess computer programming degrees as press credentials.

A prime case is Paul Bryan, a Canadian software developer who made a singular stand against his country's federal election law. After a month-long public prelude announcing his plans, Bryan posted immediate East Coast results for Canada's November 27 national election on his Web site beneath a banner declaring, "Welcome To The Information Age."

Bryan deliberately violated the Canada Elections Act, Section 329, which forbids the distribution of national election results to audiences in districts where voting is still in progress.

The ban was created to shield voters in the West from learning how an election was leaning in the East before they'd had a chance to vote. For years it has forced TV and radio networks to mind their mouths in each time zone, without deterring local stations from announcing immediate results in their own districts.

Extended to the Internet, however, the law prohibits all Web sites from publishing any results until every voting station in the country has closed.

Though Canada's staggered voting schedules mitigate the wait somewhat, East Coast Web sites still had to sit on their numbers until voting ended in the West two-and-a-half hours later. And sit they did, finally letting loose an avalanche of prepared numbers and stories at 10 p.m. EST.

Of course Bryan scooped them all, single-handedly entering numbers for the Eastern provinces as soon as they became available and continuing until the mainstream media took over. At that point the work became overwhelming, and he passed the torch to his "far more capable" counterparts.

The idea wasn't totally original; Bryan was the second Canadian to disobey the Elections Act last fall. In September, authorities confiscated the computer of retired math teacher Ivan Smith after he published election numbers while a vote was still in progress in British Columbia.

Although Bryan had received a threatening letter from authorities before the election and had his home searched afterward, he hadn't been charged with any crime at press time, and was still posting commentary and feedback at www.electionresultscanada.com.

Bryan, whose site solicited and published commentary from supporters and critics in the month before the election, said his chief prerogative was to challenge the government's suffocation of "freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Defying Election Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.