Bowing to Twitter, Canada ends election night gag

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 13, 2012 11:43 AM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government, bowing to the power of Twitter and Facebook, announced on Friday it would end a ban on posting early election results before polls close across the country.

The ban was intended to prevent the results from Eastern Canada influencing voters in the West, where polling booths stay open later. But the plethora of communication tools made the rule impossible to police, and Elections Canada officials gave up monitoring premature release of data.

"This ban, which was enacted in 1938, is out of place and unenforceable," Tim Uppal, junior minister for democratic reform, said at a news conference.

Minutes earlier, he announced the change in policy by Twitter, using his @MinTimUppal handle.

The Conservative government intends to enact the new law before the October 2015 federal election. Uppal said news agencies and broadcast outlets will also be free to publish results as they arrive.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Frank McGurty)