Saturday, December 15, 2012

More On The Robocalls Enquiry

Robocalls judge has to balance rights of those who might have not voted against those who did, lawyer argues
"The applicants in the “robocalls” election challenge of 2011 election results in six ridings have not presented evidence of specific individuals who were prevented from voting by deceptive poll-moving calls."
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"If the judge finds that there was fraud in a given riding, and if a greater number of votes were suppressed than the margin of victory, the court should balance those considerations with the reality that overturning the result would disenfranchise those who did cast ballots in the election, McIsaac said."
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"Previous Canadian election challenges have all hinged on ballots in the box that should not be there. The so-called “magic number test” applied in those cases would overturn results when the number of suspect ballots in the box was greater than the margin of victory.

In this case, McIsaac said, the court would have to apply a “reverse magic number test,” determining that there were more suppressed votes than the margin of victory.

In opening his case, Steven Shrybman, the lawyer for the applicants, acknowledged that he faced the tough challenge of showing that there were not ballots in the box that should be there.

Previous Canadian election challenges have all hinged on ballots in the box that should not be there. The so-called “magic number test” applied in those cases would overturn results when the number of suspect ballots in the box was greater than the margin of victory.

In this case, McIsaac said, the court would have to apply a “reverse magic number test,” determining that there were more suppressed votes than the margin of victory.

In opening his case, Steven Shrybman, the lawyer for the applicants, acknowledged that he faced the tough challenge of showing that there were not ballots in the box that should be there.

The key evidence for missing votes is a survey conducted by EKOS pollster Frank Graves, which found evidence that some respondents were discouraged from voting by deceptive calls.

Lawyers for the Conservative MPs have spent much of the proceedings attacking that survey and Graves’ credibility. They argued on Friday that the survey cannot be trusted and wouldn’t meet Government of Canada standards for polling.

Because the stakes are so high (the applicants want byelections called) the study must be solid, said Ted Frankel, one of the lawyers acting for the six Conservatives elected in the ridings."
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"Graves’ poll used a technology called “interactive voice response,” in which a computer prompts the respondents to enter their answers on their telephone keypad.

Graves claims the survey conducted last April found a clear pattern of voter suppression aimed at non-Conservative supporters.

Frankel said the survey can’t be trusted because of serious methodological problems, including its failure to screen out those who can’t vote, including people under age 18 and non-Canadians."
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"The failure to include cell phones in the survey was another problem, Frankel said. He also criticized EKOS for not calling respondents back to verify their information.

The survey found that 39 of 2,900 respondents reported that they had been prevented from voting by deceptive telephone calls. Frankel said, though, that 20 of those respondents had first indicated that they had voted, giving contradictory answers.

Graves doubled his estimate of the number of people who didn’t vote because of “social desirability bias,” the tendency of respondents to give answers that make themselves look good. Frankel argued Graves can’t take that kind of liberty, given what’s at stake in this case.

Some of the questions were ambiguous or double-barrelled and may have confused respondents, Frankel added, and there was no way for respondents to reply that they didn’t know or couldn’t recall."
There's more. The whole thing is coming down to a "he said"-"she said" kind of thing. What it boils down to is this: The left is at war with the right and has decided to use lawfare as its tactic and mud slinging is all we're getting from this process, although my reading of the problems suggest that this case should be tossed out.

















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