Ottawa - The Council of Canadians has released a new research study that shows that tens of thousands of Canadians received fraudulent telephone calls during the May 2011 federal election, these calls were targeted at non-Conservative voters and they were effective in reducing voter turnout.
"With all the evidence we have now submitted, we believe we have a very strong court case to overturn the election result in the seven ridings where we are supporting legal actions," says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians.
The report found that the effect of voter suppression averaged across the seven ridings is estimated to be between 0.8% and 2.2% of total electors. The margin of victory in these seven ridings in the 2011 election ranged from 0.03% to 2.02%.
The analysis was commissioned from EKOS Research Associates by the Council of Canadians, which is supporting legal actions seeking to annul the 2011 federal election results in Elmwood-Transcona, Don Valley East, Winnipeg South Centre, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Nipissing-Timiskaming, Vancouver Island North, and Yukon.
Frank Graves, President of EKOS Research Associates says "our data strongly suggests that in the subject ridings there was a targeted program of voter suppression in place... administered to tens of thousands of electors" and that "the most plausible interpretation of the evidence and tests presented here is that votes in the subject ridings were exposed to a program of voter suppression which was targeted and effective."
Other key findings across all seven ridings:
· 16.9% of eligible voters received calls related to polling stations. Of those, 22.3% were told of polling station location changes (amounting to 3.77% of eligible voters).
· Of those who were told of polling station changes, the voter intentions were as follows: Liberals 32.6%, Greens 28%, NDP 25.6%, and Conservatives 10%.
· 42.5% of eligible voters who received calls related to polling stations had a call claiming to be from Elections Canada.
"The evidence is leading inexorably to one conclusion. Someone in a senior position in the Conservative Party with access to the central database and authority to spend money approved a widespread voter suppression campaign, that in our opinion affected the outcome of the last federal election in at least seven ridings," concluded Neil.
For the analysis in the report, A Study of the Incidence and Effects of Misleading Calls in the 41st National Election , EKOS Research Associates surveyed 3297 Canadians in the seven ridings where the results are being contested in court. EKOS Research Associates also surveyed 1500 Canadians in other ridings as a control group.