A Study of the Incidence and Effects of Misleading Calls in the 41st National Election - April 24, 2012
This study has presented evidence which strongly suggests that in the subject ridings there was a targeted program of voter suppression in place. It was reported to be administered to tens of thousands of electors based on these samples.
These activities were clearly targeted at non-Conservative voters in a highly improbable manner. They included erroneous reports of false voting station changes and faux calls ostensibly coming from Elections Canada. In reality, there were no calls from Elections Canada and there were virtually no voting station changes, yet many thousands of voters in these seven ridings claimed to have received these calls.
If these responses were the constructions of disgruntled non-Conservative voters, one cannot explain why the same targeting effects were not present in the comparison group.
Exposure to these calls clearly had a dampening effect on the propensity for non-Conservative supporters to vote. Using different methods, we would estimate the effect in the range of 1.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent. Applying a margin of error to those estimates would produce a band of 0.8 per cent to 2.2 per cent. In other words, if these actions had not been in place, the Conservative advantage would have been reduced by this amount on average in those seven ridings.
The incidence of these misleading calls may have been overstated due to memory and other errors, but the incidence of non-voting is also most likely understated by a larger amount. These impacts also reflect the widespread presence of other intimidating and misleading calls which were reported by nearly 10 per cent of all respondents in the seven ridings (0.4 per cent effect). It is also notable that there is evidence that these kinds of inappropriate and illicit calls were fairly ubiquitous to all of the areas studied, even the comparison group.
This study was done within strict time constraints and it has recognized limitations. While more time and resources would provide a more refined understanding of the extent and effects of voter suppression activities in 41st Federal Election - the most plausible interpretation of the evidence and tests presented here is that voters in the subject ridings were exposed to a program of voter suppression which was targeted and effective.
Click here for the full report: A Study of the Incidence and Effects of Misleading Calls in the 41st National Election (April 24, 2012)