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The digital revolution has fuelled intensive data analysis south of the border that allows political parties to zero in on people who support rival candidates and then find ways to prevent them from voting.

The development prompted Elections Canada to comb through academic papers and media reports and talk to experts and lawyers about the phenomenon of electoral malpractice.

"It's important for us to identify potential risks in order to be prepared to detect and respond to incidents that may occur, including incidents that could compromise the integrity of the election," said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright.

A copy of the May 2014 presentation, "An Introduction to Emerging Trends and Threats in Electoral Operations," was released to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Former Conservative Party worker Michael Sona, seen here in this June 2, 2014 photo, was convicted of taking part in a scheme to misdirect voters in Guelph, Ont., to phoney poll locations during the 2011 federal election. (Laura Payton/CBC)

It was prepared just months before Conservative campaign worker Michael Sona was convicted of taking part in a scheme to misdirect voters in Guelph, Ont., to phoney poll locations during the 2011 campaign.

The research revealed that rough-and-tumble American political campaigns are the seedbeds of such behaviour — identifying 17 cases in 15 states from 2004 through 2012.

"We need look no further than the United States to find a vast overview of contemporary voter suppression and surveillance practices," the presentation notes say.

Elections Canada cites four stages of a successful voter suppression plan:

Identify non-supporters.
Gather information on them;
Prevent them from going to the polls through scare tactics, misinformation or systematic challenging of registrations;
If electors get to the polls, prevent them from voting by contesting eligibility or identification, and through intimidation...

Elections Canada warns staff to watch for dirty 'voter suppression' tricks - Politics - CBC News

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