1.19.2006

site

Longtime friend-of-wmtc ALPF alerted me to a terrific political site I wouldn't have known about: DemocraticSpace.com. He works in the news business, and said:
I just want to pass on that I have been pretty hard at work preparing graphics and boards for our broadcast election night. What I have been building is making me sick... CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY THIS, CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY THAT. If I have to cut out another photo of that beeny eyed weiner and place it on a board that says "Canada's New Prime Minister" I'm going to be nauseous. I actually felt a little better yesterday afternoon when our producer handed me the predictions for every riding and it only had 131 seats going Conservative. That's around 20-25 short of a majority.

The site is democraticspace.com that we have been using.., It's pretty cool. Here is the riding prediction page...

Those number have been going the right way in the past few days thankfully... They once had it at 145-150 Conservative.

It also has the breakdown of strategic ridings where an NDP votes should swing Liberal and vice-versa. My riding is one that Liberal supporters should swing NDP for this election to stop the Tory. I going to do my part and vote NDP.
Wrye also posted some interesting notes from the Democratic Space blog.
Important:

DemocraticSPACE does not endorse strategic voting (i.e. where voters cast their ballot for their second choice party to prevent a less favourable party from winning). We believe that Canada should explore options of adding an element of proportionality into our electoral system to ensure fair and accurate representation in parliament. See "Making Every Vote Count: Towards Fair Representation in the Canadian Parliament". However, strategic voting happens in Canada. DemocraticSPACE.com believes that it is better to make informed choices than misinformed choices. Therefore, this guide is meant to help voters who are thinking of voting strategically.

Are you in a position where your first choice party/candidate cannot win your riding? Are you thinking of voting for your second choice party/candidate? This guide is meant to inform you of whether voting strategically in your riding or not can make a difference.

In order for a riding to qualify for strategic voting, we feel 3 conditions must be met:

1. It must be a close 2-way race (i.e. the two other parties must be within 5%)

2. The chances of your party winning riding are remote (i.e. support < 25%)

3. Small number of votes will make a difference (i.e. < 1 in 3 voters).

Guides then follow for all three parties.
Thanks, guys.

Watching predictions - and, on Monday, returns - is so different here, with four parties to consider, and seats by ridings, instead of the (insane) winner-take-all state by state system in the US. Allan and I will be glued to the TV on Monday night.

I'm feeling more hopeful every day that Canadians will come to their senses and that ALPF will not have to be nauseous for long. Of course that may be an illusion. Either way, we'll soon know.

29 comments:

M@ said...

I'll be glued to my TV too. I can't remember an election I didn't watch the results of (starting in 1984 when I was eleven).

Does anyone not watch the federal election results? I figure there must be some people (my father never used to because "they're all crooks anyway") but surely the majority do. Anyone?

(They'll certainly not be as depressing as November, 2004, no matter what the result...)

L-girl said...

(They'll certainly not be as depressing as November, 2004, no matter what the result...)

The night itself was great. I worked a GOTV phone room. Halfway through, it looked like we won. The next morning, however, when Kerry conceded before the votes were counted...

If you're interested, my memories are in here somewhere.

It's weird seeing those posts. My life was very different then.

Wrye said...

Sadly, I won't be able to watch, as I'm running a poll station. I do miss the fancy-pants graphics, but it's immensely satisfying to count people's votes. Of course, in BC the polls are open 7AM to 7PM, so it makes for an early morning followed by a long day.

Granny said...

I'll try to keep up online and keep a good thought for your riding. Something like a District would be here?

L-girl said...

Something like a District would be here?

Something like a Congressional district, yes.

In this case, each riding sends an MP to the Commons, that's one seat. How many seats each party wins determines the Government, the rest being Opposition. No winner-take-all. (Or in the case of recent US history, loser-take-all.)

M@ said...

You know, it never occurred to me that people who actually do the work on the election won't be able to watch it. I've never been directly involved in an election before but I can see how it would be very satisfying.

It's pretty ironic, Laura, that with a paper ballot system we usually know the result of and election within a couple of hours of the polls closing. But I guess vote-rigging does take a little time, even computerized vote-rigging...

doug said...

here's the latest in the Bush admin's spying on America as reported by the associated press today

The Bush administration has subpoenaed Google Inc. for details on what its users have been looking for through its popular search engine.Google has refused to comply with the subpoena, issued last year

Wrye said...

It's pretty ironic, Laura, that with a paper ballot system we usually know the result of and election within a couple of hours of the polls closing. But I guess vote-rigging does take a little time, even computerized vote-rigging...

The problem with the US, all conspiracies aside, is that elections are held for everyone-from dogcatcher through President-on the same day, at the same time. Hence the move to computerization and all that that brings with it. It's slaving an abuse-liable 20th century technology to serve an 18th-century practice, really. It's such a fundamental assumption that most observers forget it's even there--forget getting all fancy-schmancy about changing the electoral college, this would make a great difference in how effectively the system works.

L-girl said...

forget getting all fancy-schmancy about changing the electoral college, this would make a great difference in how effectively the system works.

I agree, you're right. But the electoral college system is anti-democratic and should go.

Also, let's not forget: conspiracies do exist. History is full of them.

Every conspiracy theory does not contain an actual conspiracy - but people with legitimate and important grievances are too easily dismissed with the "conspiracy theory nut" label.

I'm not saying you were doing this, Wrye. Only that we should be careful with that over-used word.

Wrye said...

No winner-take-all. (Or in the case of recent US history, loser-take-all.)

Heh. Well, actually, within the riding it's winner take all. So for instance, let's presume that in every riding in the country, the New Democrat won with 51% of the vote. This would give you a parliament with only NDP MPs, but 49% of voters favored other choices.

The Canadian system thus does allow for wipeouts, normally of left-wing or right-wing governments who've gone too far. (Does this reflect the writer's bias, or the fact that it's just harder to annihilate the political centre? Discuss)

Federally, Mulroney's PCs (under scapegoat Kim Campbell) were reduced to 2 seats, even though they got 35%ish of the vote. Glen Clark's NDP in BC (under scapegoat Ujjal Dossanjh), likewise--two terms after the BC NDP had itself destroyed the right wing Social Credit Party, reduced to 7 seats under scapegoat leader Rita Johnson. (Note to non-British Columbians: our politics are strange, and party labels here don't mean what they mean elsewhere. Ask about it at peril of a history lesson).

Other lopsided results include Grant Devine's Saskatchewan PCs, and Bob Rae's Ontario NDP--though each still had about a dozen seats, so they're not really in the same league.

The worst was Richard Hatfield's Tories in New Brunswick, who were completely wiped out in 1987. Normally, in the case of provincial wipeouts, the premier is emmeshed in scandal to the extent that the entire country knows about it--so you can frequently see a wipeout coming a long way off, even if you live on the other side of the country.

L-girl said...

Well, actually, within the riding it's winner take all.

Oh sure, of course. Didn't mean to imply otherwise.

A riding being so much smaller than a state, and an entire US state going only to one presidential candidate, the Canadian system hardly seems winner-take-all to me, especially with minority governments.

But these examples are very edifying!

Wrye said...

As for conspiracy, well, this is one of the few times the word is actually being used as intended, and no synonyms really work. But vote fixing is really a moot point for this particular discussion, except insofar as the current vote for everything at once heightens the opportunity to do so.

L-girl said...

But vote fixing is really a moot point for this particular discussion, except insofar as the current vote for everything at once heightens the opportunity to do so.

Yes, the topic did slide away there.

I did want to note something.

Hence the move to computerization and all that that brings with it.

That move to computerization was largely driven by the companies that make the equipment, the famed Diebold and others.

That's often the case with supposed "upgrades". The NYC subway system went from metal tokens to an electronic Metrocard system because the company that makes the Metrocard system has deep connections with the people who run the subway - with all the kickbacks, inflated costs and bid-rigging that that implies.

These so-called improvements are sold to the public on other merits, but the public rarely has an actual choice, it's usually foisted on them, a fait accompli.

So while what Wrye says it's true, it's not - in my view - the real reason so many US counties went to electronic voting.

nataleo said...

Oh I'll definitely be tuned in Monday evening-I'm especially intereted in seeing how some seats play out (Stronach's, Brison's) I'm pretty certain Chow will get her seat and Anne will lose hers...any other districts of particular interest to anyone?

Wrye said...

Perhaps I mean Mechanical voting and counting, come to think of it. Punchcards and the like. Once it was mechanized, it would be that much harder to argue against electronic voting than say here, where everything is built around the pencil and hand-verification.


Please Note, as an Elections Canada official, I'd like all you voters to note:

-You can use an implement other than a pencil; all that matters for Federal (not necessarily provincial) voting is that you make a clear mark of some sort in one (but only one) circle. Yes, we can give you a replacement ballot if you panic.

-Voting hours vary by province: the intention is to have the polls nationally opening and closing as close together in real time as possible (though not all provinces have signed on) This may vary from provincial elections, so if in doubt, check.

Andrea said...

Completly and totally unrelated to this post
BUT
The request for passport came!!! We are GOING TO CANADA!!
Question?
How long did it take to get your passport back after you sent it out?
I am floating....

L-girl said...

YAY!!! Congratulations!!

How long did it take to get your passport back after you sent it out?

Do you mean when we sent it in the special envelope, to get the immigration visa? I don't remember off the top of my head, but here's our timeline.

Remember, ours was only going from NYC to Buffalo, NY. Your mileage may vary.

M@ said...

Wrye - While we're on the subject, shouldn't you also point out that it's illegal to eat your ballot? :)

Do you see a lot of people doing crazy things to spoil their ballots? Someone I know spat her gum into her ballot one year. Ah, democracy.

By the way, I should revise my earlier comment. I didn't realise the Leafs and the Sens are playing on Monday. The real battle of Ontario! I guess I'll have to be flipping back and forth. And if we're getting beaten really badly in one, I can always watch the other...

L-girl said...

the intention is to have the polls nationally opening and closing as close together in real time as possible (though not all provinces have signed on)

Allan and I are curious how the CBC handles returns from the west coast. Do they wait until everything is in to announce? Or do they announce as results come in?

Canrane said...

I'm not sure if this is a courtesy thing or mandatory, but they wait until polls have closed on the west coast before reporting any results. So most broadcasts don't start until 9PM.

nataleo said...

I think results from eastern Canada trickle in after the polls close, even though they are still open in BC. I've always watched results night and it's always been 7-10pm EST (polls wouldn't close until 11pm EST and I know I've seen results before that)

Wrye said...

NO no, it's very simple. The CBC and everyone else in your local area can start coverage as soon as the polls are closed there: so in BC (for instance) the local outlet won't pick up the national feed until after the pools close here. This led to the feeling in western Canada for many years that elections were decided even before your votes had been counted: people would tune in one minute after the pools had closed to discover that "the East" had already given the Liberatives a majority.

Now, I love spoiling ballots and protest votes as much as anybody, so: I don't think eating your ballot is illegal, federally. Eating someone else's ballot, or the poll's unused ballots, however, definitely is. I and all other Poll Officers have the authority to arrest people if they do.

If you want to spoil/protest your ballot, it's suggested you let the officer know. You can then drop the blank ballot into the box without marking it, and you will be counted as having voted. Such ballots will be counted in the final count as "rejected", but they will be counted. To put it another way: if it's a protest vote, please make it clear to us that that's what you're doing, and that way, when the time comes for me to count your ballot, I'm not going to waste time trying to figure if your sticking a "Mr. Yucky" sticker in the conservative Canadidate's space is supposed to be a vote for him or against him.

Sticking gum in the ballot would be kind of prickish, really--it might gum up other people's ballots, and that's crossing a line, I think.

Wrye said...

Just to clarify, destroying your ballot by eating it makes it impossible for me to account for it at the end of the night (We're missing a ballot! Where is it?), so if that's what anyone wants to do, let the elections officials know, so we won't waste time looking for the missing ballot.

L-girl said...

Thanks for the info, Wrye!

I'm not sure if this is a courtesy thing or mandatory, but they wait until polls have closed on the west coast before reporting any results. So most broadcasts don't start until 9PM.

. . .

The CBC and everyone else in your local area can start coverage as soon as the polls are closed there: so in BC (for instance) the local outlet won't pick up the national feed until after the pools close here. This led to the feeling in western Canada for many years that elections were decided even before your votes had been counted: people would tune in one minute after the pools had closed to discover that "the East" had already given the Liberatives a majority.


Liberatives :)

Any relation to the Republocrats?

As you may know, there was a big flap in the US about this, although I'm having trouble remembering what election it was. 1988? 1992? 1996? (Help, anyone?) The major networks called the election before most people on the west coast had even voted. Supposedly there was a huge drop-off in voting, and the networks were blamed.

So they all said they wouldn't do that anymore, they wouldn't call the election while polls were still open. But of course they continued to do it, while emphasizing that everyone should go out and vote anyway.

Canrane said...

I happened to be in Vancouver during the last election and I seem to recall that my parents back east hadn't heard anything on the local stations until after 9PM. Mind you, I also thought that polls closed at 6PM, so I defer to those with less porous memories than mine ;)

nataleo said...

"democraticspace.com" is a wonderful source of information and you can also read comments left by readers. Infact, I left one referring to "Prime Minister Bush" (under Calgary Southwest) which was apparantly offensive to someone and it was removed from the blog when I went back on today.....hmmmmm

L-girl said...

Well, you can say what you like online, but you can't say it anywhere you'd like.

M@ said...

Okay, I was totally being silly there... except that it's true.

Eating a ballot, not returning it or otherwise destroying or defacing it constitutes a serious breach of the Canada Elections Act.

Lucky I came along!

Seriously, though, Wrye, thanks for the work you're doing.

This guy says it all, in my opinion.

Trevor said...

Beeny eyed Weiner -- that completely cracks me up!

To everyone Canadian (and in Canada) -- please make sure you get out an vote.

To any Canadians living the ex-pat life in the US who may be out there, I hope you've voted already. And if you want to gather with other Canadians to watch the results on C-SPAN, the Canadian emabassy put out a list of watering holes where people will be gathering at www.connect2canada.com.

I just got back from a weekend in Vancouver (Yes, I voted from California several weeks ago) where I got caught up on the election first hand. Even the attack ads look 'quaint' now compared to what I've been subjected to here (calling Harper someone Bush could like, though apt and scary enough, is still a lot less than the average "Elect John Smith and he will eat your children!" tenor of some ads down here -- oh, yes congressional elections are coming up!). But the race still looks far too American for my liking....