Kismet Caffet was once known by a different name, but in 2014, after a family member stole her identity and used it for financial gain, she legally changed it.
Since then, she has voted in multiple elections under her new legal name and informed everyone from the Canada Revenue Agency to Elections Canada of the change.
But last week she received an unwelcome reminder of her past.
“What Elections Canada did was they associated my current address with this stolen identity when they sent a voter card in that name, to my current address,” she said. .
“It’s a security problem”
Caffet now fears that the person who stole her identity could not find her.
“As a result, I have to move around, which in my case is a bit more complicated than for the average person as I am actually disabled and in a wheelchair,” she said.
“It’s a security issue. It took me a few times and put some distance between this old identity to be able to feel safe and not constantly have the cloud of this toxic person in my life and the threat that there could be. at any time. “
But that’s not the only problem. The fact that Caffet received two voter cards also raises concerns about the integrity of the elections.
Two voter cards
“I could theoretically vote twice,” she said. “And the fact that they send voter cards to known stolen identities is a problem in itself.”
Spokesman Matthew Mckenna said Elections Canada cannot speak to specific cases, but confirmed they had been in contact with Caffet.
“I understand that they filed a complaint and it was taking a while, but I know that I can confirm with certainty that those responsible have been in contact with this person.”
McKenna said there were a number of reasons something like this could be happening. He said the National Register of Voters is “complicated” because it collects data from a myriad of sources.
“Whether it’s other electoral management bodies or provincial and territorial driver offices… it’s really on a case-by-case basis, and it really depends on what those data sources are for a given voter,” he said. he declared.
“Maybe we have three or four pieces of information that are elected with the correct name, but one comes with the wrong name and that increases the chances that the voter information will be released or with a dead name.” , or with the name of the voter chose not to use. “
Ultimately, McKenna said it was an issue they were trying to fix.
“We apologize and it is unfortunate. We are working on it and it is something that we need to improve on our side,” he said. “We always strive to ensure that such things do not happen and we sympathize with the frustration of the electorate.”
McKenna said Elections Canada is working to make sure Caffet can vote on Monday, but Caffet says that does little to allay his security concerns.
“It’s not just for me. I’m fortunate enough to only run a risk with one person. If this happens to someone who is transgender, it could upset everyone and expose them to harm. attacks on all fronts, “she said.
“This is a security issue that Elections Canada just does not take seriously.
Changing your name with Elections Canada
Regarding the general process for voters to apply for a name or gender change with Elections Canada, McKenna said it’s important to communicate directly.
“Ideally before an election is called. This mitigates the risk of problems with their voter information in the National Register of Voters and ensures that it is updated appropriately,” he said.
If a voter tries to update their information online or at polling stations using their new name, McKenna said he would likely create a new record in the National Register of Electors, rather than updating the previous one.
“For this reason, a voter can then receive a voter information card for both names – for this election or in future ones – if the duplicate of the file has not been identified,” he said. declared.