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Fed lawyers said voter vouching a 'failsafe'

OTTAWA - Federal lawyers defended previous changes to voter-identification rules in court by saying that vouching was a failsafe for citizens without proper ID.

Now, the same Conservative government that brought in the first voter ID rules in 2007 is trying to further tighten the requirements in time for the 2015 election.

The Harper government wants to eliminate vouching altogether, meaning properly identified voters won't be able to vouch for another voter who lacks full documentation.

Three British Columbia residents have applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for a hearing after losing their bid in lower courts to have the old ID rules declared unconstitutional.

A B.C. court said the 2007 identification requirements did, in fact, breach the Charter right to vote, but found that the breach was justifiable to deter voter fraud.

That ruling was based in part on arguments by government of Canada lawyers who said that even if a voter lacked proper ID, they would still be able to vote using the "failsafe" of vouching.

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