Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ujjal Wins By 20

First word of the result here.

Looks like the judge was right: spending all that money, opening all those boxes, didn't get Wai Young the votes. A waste, then?

Update: Its, been a long day and I'm not sure I'm coherent enough to explain why this case bugs me. But if our judge made his initial decision on the basis of some kind of probabilistic metric (this many boxes, this many total rejected ballots= no chance to make up 22 votes), then we are not seeing a triumph of democracy. We are seeing a cyber mob that had to have it proved to them that math actually works, and who eventually nudged the Tory candidate into un-conceding in their attempt to challenge the foundation of statistical reasoning in the name of democracy.

Naturally, math won out.


Dr.Dawg said...

Why is is a "waste" to do the damn recount properly?

bigcitylib said...

I am not convinced it was done improperly in the first place, nor that Wai Young didn't really concede.

Jason Hickman said...

1. Dawg already covered the Elections Act issue. I think he's right.

2. A concession by a candidate isn't necessarily binding - ask Al Gore, who conceded FL in '00 only to call and take it back - unless there's some *other* provision in the Act that says otherwise.

ch said...

I don't think it was a waste either. It's important that people think the system is working and someone one fairly, even if only by 10 or 20 votes. Personally, I was down on the whole idea of this election circumventing the 4, or whatever it was, byelections, but if one has an election, then every candidate should have confidence that the votes were counted correctly in close races.

bigcitylib said...


I don't know if I can explain this too well this late in the evening. But if the judge made his initial decision on the basis of some kind of probablistic metric (this many boxes, this many total rejected= no chance to make up 22 votes), then this isn't a triumph of democracy. A cyber mob had to have it proved to them that math actually works, and so eventually nudged the Tory candidate into un-conceding.

Not much of a triumph in that.

Ti-Guy said...

The only thing that bugged were the Dippocrites and the Contards stroking each other to get The Liberal.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Why do we bother with elections at all then? Why not just commission Environics and save a lot of money?

I'm with Dr. Dawg on this one. Every other recount is being done properly. Vancouver South was shamed into following suit.

It's totally about democracy and if you think that's too high a price to pay, then I feel very sorry for you.

Ti-Guy said...

I guess Joanne's Technocrati klaxon went off or she's stalking Progressive Bloggers again.

Please, Joanne. No grandiose orations about democracy. Go and post something about evil gays and the link between breast cancer and abortion on that down-market propaganda factory you call a blog.

Anonymous said...

Landslide Ujjal wins.

Now he's clear for a run at LPC leader.

Of is he just a shill for Boob Rae hoping to rope in western Liberal votes in an anyone but Iggy program

sharonapple88 said...

Actually the recount for Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca stopped before all the ballots were counted. The speed at which this all happened at -- morning to 5:30pm probably indicates that they didn't go through even most of the ballots. The reason I say this is that there 58 295 valid votes and it would have taken a little over 16 hours, if they counted one ballot per second, to go through all the votes again.

I've worked as a poll clerk for an election, and to be honest, it's difficult to steal/change the results. There's a section on the Tabulation of Votes on Elections Canada's site.

The DROs are people suggested by the winning party.

The Poll Clerks are people brought in by the second place party.

There are members from different parties at the polling station -- and the DRO has to be watched by various people as he/she counts the results.

All of these guests make it difficult for a DRO to change results, but if he does, it allows for witnesses to dispute the results.


Austin said...

It just boils down to how much anyone trusts our electoral process.

Isn't there a high level of quality control in the counts on voting night?

Basically, the second partial recount was to validate that the quality control in place on election night was doing a fantastic job.

I don't see the big deal, unless you already have no faith in our ballot counting and validation system, which is still done by hand, with oversight by members of each political party.

That is why the statistics works. It wouldn't work if there was any funny business going on.

If anything, this complete recount completely validates the reliability of our ballot system, which is why Elections Canada is respected the world over, except of course in Canada.


sharonapple88 said...

There are two basic reasons to call for a recounts ub Canadian elections.

1. Automatic recount: there is less than one one-thousandth (1/1000) between the first and the second place candidates. (I've seen 0.1% and less than 500 votes thrown around, but one one-thousandth is from Election Canada's website.)

2. Recount by way of application: One of the parties has evidence that there is a mistake in the tabulation in the votes. (Most of the time it seems as though if there is just less than 100 votes between first and second place, one of the parties will call for a a recount.)

Now the recount in Vancouver South was an automatic
retriggered because there was less than 0.001% difference in votes. No party argued that anything odd occurred during the election, so there wasn't any pressure to go through all the votes and check to see if anything odd was going on. In a way it was a formality.

In the case of Brossard—La Prairie, where the seat did change, it was requested by one of the parties. There was102 votes separating the Bloc and the Liberal candidates, which was actually greater than one thousandth of the vote (about 0.0017 if you use 59,187 as the number of votes cast). It would make sense in this case to go through all the votes since there is a dispute in the tabulation. The fact that the Bloc total did change (dropped by 168 votes, or from 19,202 to 19,034 votes) shows that something may in fact may not have been right during the tabulation of votes.

sharonapple88 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sharonapple88 said...

a recounts ub Canadian elections.


That should be "recounts in Canadian elections."

bigcitylib said...


Mind if I work your comments into a post?

Anonymous said...

With respect bigcitylib, as long as the number of ballots not subject to a recount exceeds the number of ballots separating the top finishers then you don't have "no chance" to make up 22 votes. You just have an exceedingly unlikely chance to make up 22 votes.

If a recount is necessary due to a very close finish, do it properly and recount all the ballots. That way everyone knows that there was no mistake made and the winner did in fact win.

Ujjal won the election and now we all know this for sure. This is good for Ujjal and good for his riding.

sharonapple88 said...

Mind if I work your comments into a post?

Be my guest.

Just wanted to make a few points before you write anything based on what I posted:

Just wanted to point out that Vancouver South was an automatic recount and Brossard—La Prairie was one where a party requested a recount -- but it was my opinion on why one was conducted in a different manner than the other.

There are a few different rules for an automatic vs. a requested recount, but mostly on precedure, not in method or recount. (Interesting to note that in automatic recount, the judge isn't obliged to inform the candidate (2.2.6 and )

If you check out section 2.7 there are three types of recounts, but as noted by the Conservatives, it's up the judge on how this will be interpreted.

Note, to clarify one point that might be a bit murky in my earlier comments, you can't dispute fraud through a recount, only tabulation (2.1)

sharonapple88 said...

One more post on this recount (sorry):

Apparently, the Conservatives initially appeared to concede.

My theory from all of this -- they started by tabulating the votes. Then they moved towards counting the boxes where there were obvious errors in math. It's these initial boxes where the majority of the shift in votes happened. Then they moved over to the boxes where there were no problems. After several boxes where there were no errors found, the Conservatives initially appeared to concede. The recount is stopped. After consulting with the brass, they decided to put up a fuss (why give up when you've only gone through 18 of 184 boxes? The fact that the vote may not have moved in the majority of these boxes escapes them).

This may explain why after going through the rest of the boxes (166 of 184 boxes) the vote count barely moved.

bigcitylib said...


Yeah that's what almost certainly happened. Apparently, you determine which boxes have the most problems and count them first.

sharonapple88 said...

It makes sense to do it that way, and it would probably explain why Wai initialy conceded and why the judge would think it would make sense to stop the recount.

Overall, it doesn't make sense that a judge would try to steal an election. Not in front of witnesses, some of whom represent the other party at the recount.