A “statistically significant” number of non-Conservative voters were targeted by illegal robocalls before and during last year’s general election. A well known polling firm, EKOS was hired to determine samples of people in both ridings known to have got robocalls, and in ridings unsuspected of targeted voter suppression. Liberals and NDP voters were “3 to 4 times” more likely to have got illegal phone calls than Conservative voters.
Only 6.9% of Conservative supporters in the ridings in question reported receiving a call directing them to the wrong polling station late in the campaign, while 29.5% of Liberal supporters say they received such a call, many after having received a voter-identification call.
The poll was a random sample of 3,297 Canadians in the seven ridings and is considered to be accurate to within plus or minus 1.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Because of the risk of opposition supporters “over-remembering” receiving calls directing them to the wrong polling station, Graves used a control group of 1,500 respondents in other ridings, where there were no allegations of misleading calls. Only 14.3% of Liberal supporters in those ridings reported receiving misleading calls.
There’s no way that voters in the seven ridings named in the legal challenge would be making up stories at a higher rate than voters in other ridings, said Graves.
“It just stretches the thing beyond any possible plausibility,” he said. “That just didn’t happen.”
Figuring out what percentage of the electorate in those seven ridings was dissuaded from voting by the calls is more difficult, said Graves, because the numbers are “fuzzier.”
“We come up with an estimate of roughly 1.5%, which is a conservative estimate,” he said.
That would be enough to have tipped the balance for the Conservatives in four or five of the seven ridings, Graves said.
“It’s clear that there are other ridings throughout the country that would fall into that category as well.”
Graves said nothing can account for the difference between the small number of Conservatives who received calls directing them to the wrong polling station and the larger number of opposition supporters.
“It’s completely statistically improbable, like a one in a million chance, that it would go to non-Conservatives in the pattern that we see,” he said. “You go, ‘No. Sorry.’ I think there was a program of voter suppression going on in these seven ridings, and I think it was targeted and effective. I don’t know who the author was.”
We know who the author was, or at least who is responsible for criminal activity within a political party. In the Harper Government, all communication must go through the PMO, and in the Harper Conservative campaign, all press releases had to go through Ottawa’s campaign headquarters. That headquarters is currently under investigation by Elections Canada, according to Postmedia. To do the math, you don’t need a calculator.