Not Quite Legal Advice
So, I like to help out on campaigns from time to time.
I was legal counsel to a campaign in one of the by-elections held yesterday in Ontario. The hardest part of that job is dealing with over zealous campaign volunteers who think that everything and anything is a violation of the various acts and regulations that pertain to elections.
The most important part of a lawyer's role is ensuring all eligible voters can exercise their franchise, and that volunteers are granted access to polls to observe the proceedings. I enfranchised all kinds of people. Defending democracy is a grand endeavor.
Often people violate other aspects of the acts and regulations. Significantly less frequently can you do anything about it. If issues are really big, you can make your position known, and most importantly, document the matter so if there is a problem, recount and/or litigation.
You are in fact, preparing the best evidence. 99.9999999% of the time, you just smile, write it down, and let it go.
Case in point:
Volunteers for another candidate were campaigning very close to a polling station. This is not allowed. It is also stupid, as it does nothing to get your voters out to the polls, because very few people are influenced if they are already at the polls. But I digress.
One of our volunteers called me and detailed the situation. She informed me that the returning officer had already spoken to the offending party. She said she was detailing the situation, and wanted help from me.
I listened attentively, and said that if the R.O. had already spoken to them, there wasn't all the much else we could do now. She insisted, and wanted me to take action.
I said that I just didn't feel more was justified, given the R.O. had already acted. I then lamented that "they should stop being assholes."
She quickly replied - "Can I tell them they are being assholes?" To which I replied, there was nothing stopping her from calling them assholes.
I could feel her phone being muffled by her hand, as she screamed a the top of her lungs "My lawyer says you guys are assholes and you should stop being assholes." She then thanked me.