The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a legal ban on reporting early vote results on federal election nights in regions of the country where the polls are still open.
In a 5-4 decision, the top court ruled the section of the Canada Elections Act that bans the publication of voting results until all federal polls close on election night does not violate the Charter of Rights.
British Columbia software designer Paul Bryan had challenged the 1938 ban, saying modern communications technology, such as the internet, rendered it obsolete.
He argued it violates the Charter of Rights' guarantee of freedom of expression and another section of the Charter that protects freedom of political association.
Federal lawyers argued the law should be maintained to ensure electoral fairness for all Canadians.
The court wrote that the ban is a "reasonable limit" on the Charter because it maintains "informational equality" among voters and contributes to "the fairness and reputation of the electoral system as a whole."
In another case, the Court voted 7-2 to restrict automotive traffic to 8 kph to "avoid scaring the horses."