By the numbers

Elections Canada says the majority of the 31,000 complaints it reported two weeks ago originated with online forms.

David Akin notes a study that attempts to determine whether there is any statistical evidence of voter suppression in those ridings that were reportedly targeted. Stephen Gordon explains.

If you look at riding-level data, there’s not much to see. But Simon Fraser University’s Anke Kessler has dug deeper into Elections Canada’s poll-level database and uses information that is available at the poll level.  Outcomes at polling stations differ in turnout and in vote shares for particular candidates; this makes each riding look like a smaller copy of a country-wide election. In a first step, she finds that polling stations with predominantly non-Conservative voters generally experienced a decline in voter turnout from 2008 to 2011. In a second step, she asks how the extent of this decline varies with reported robocalls. She finds that it was larger in the former, meaning that in ridings where robocalling was reported, polling stations that voted predominantly non-Conservative in the 2008 election saw a greater-than-average decline in voter turnout.

Gordon also notes some important caveats and has posted Prof. Kessler’s paper here.

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