October 27, 2008

Who Needs ACORN? We've Got Elections Canada

Naw, we don't need to count *every* vote....

On October 14 Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh won his seat in Vancouver South by a margin of 33 votes, which under Elections Canada rules triggered an automatic recount. Here's the curious thing, though: the judge in charge of the recount didn't open all the ballot boxes. According to some sources, only 28 out of 184 ballot boxes -- fifteen percent -- were counted, after which the judge declared Dosanjh the winner by a now diminished margin of 22 votes. The Conservative candidate, Wai Young, said only "a sampling" of ballot boxes were recounted.

A sampling? In such a tight race, and with each counted box showing the race to be tightening, why on earth is it reasonable to stop after counting fifteen percent of the ballot boxes? Is it just too tedious, or...? And if a recount of fifteen percent of boxes brought Donanjh's lead down from 33 to 22, wouldn't that suggest that there might be some other, different numbers further down in all those uncounted ballot boxes? In Brossard-La Prairie for example, the BQ candidate who was declared the winner on election night by a margin of 102 votes was found by a recount to have lost to the Liberal candidate by a margin of 69 votes -- a 172 vote swing.

Joanne at Blue Like You:

"What it all really boils down to is this: Why was there only a partial recount done in Vancouver South when the vote differential between the incumbent and the closest runner-up started to decrease?
"The second question is, do we have a right to know? Should Canadian voters be given some kind of explanation as to why this decision was made?
"The third question is, what kind of recount process is occurring in all the other ridings? If every vote gets counted in all other recounts, then why is Vancouver South the exception?"

This whole recount-"sample" procedure is fishy. There's no good reason to not count all the votes cast. The usual suspects in the MSM aren't concerned about the issue, but you can find info and links at Blue Like You.

UPDATE: Candidate Wai Young will be taking her case for a full recount to the BC Supreme Court on Thursday. (h/t Ruth)

Posted by EBD at October 27, 2008 9:48 AM

"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
~Joseph Stalin

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 9:59 AM

Elections Canada admitted whose side they were on when they investigated the CPC offices to see if money was spent at the federal or constituency level which is a bigger crime apparently than the liberals who just stole at least a million we know of and who were never investigated even though they know at least 10 MP's are supposed to have the money.

MP's who by my understanding should never be allowed to run again.

Posted by: dinosaur at October 27, 2008 9:59 AM

Wouldn't this count as elections fraud or something similar under elections Canada?

Shouldn't this person be in jail about now?

Posted by: Brodie at October 27, 2008 10:10 AM

Stop confusing Canadian law with American law!

Unless there is a specific law stating that all the ballots must be counted, they do not have to do it. They, are the Queens government and are sovereign and as such do not answer to the people. This is what happens in an upside-down power structure like Canada and Britain has, God-Queen-Government-People.

IN the USA the default position is constitutionally mandated that the government act in a fair and transparent on all things government (with certain dubious exceptions). This is because the people are citizen-sovereigns and thereby omnipotent. The power flow goes God-Citizen-Town-County-State-Federal Government.

Posted by: KPD at October 27, 2008 10:14 AM

Its like in 04 I inquired as to where I could watch them count the votes and I was told basically to F Off. So much for democracy in Canuckistan.

Posted by: FREE at October 27, 2008 10:27 AM

I see the tin-foil hat brigade is out in force early this week.

If this is such an affront to democracy why is Young conceded and accepting defeat? There is an appeal process that Young doesn't feel is necessary. Young is not even outraged or upset but only "disappointed" by the choice to sample the ballot boxes.

Elections Canada, headed by a Harper appointee, has followed a procedure and the results have been accepted by the parties involved. Time to move on to the next black helicopter conspiracy theory to whine about.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 10:30 AM

Would election ballots be covered under federal access to information laws? If one suspected impropriety could they count the ballots themselves?

And Ted... I don't believe for a second that if it were the other way around you and all your leftard buddies wouldn't have had a hissy fit over this already so how bout a nice steamy bowl of shut the hell up?

Posted by: bob at October 27, 2008 10:39 AM

Well Ted, what is wrong with counting ALL the ballots? If the process lets a judge do a sample counting, then the process needs fixing. A margin of 22 votes out of tens of thousands cast is so slim that the only fair thing to do is count them all.

Posted by: JMD at October 27, 2008 10:41 AM

You lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost...

Get over it!

Posted by: Devin Maxwell at October 27, 2008 10:43 AM

Spoken like a true lawyer, Ted. The unwillingness (if true) of Young to not use an available appeal process speaks more about Young than the process. Canada's electoral system, regardless of what anyone thinks of it, is an absolute system, not a statistical one. There is a principle to be upheld. Canadian law isn't just a meal ticket for certain stakeholders, its actually supposed to be a model for societal behavior too. Who'd guessed you'd be such a libertarian?

Posted by: Skip at October 27, 2008 10:43 AM

Bobbo - just asking a simple question: if it is such an outrage, then why does the Conservative candidate not seem to care?

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 10:45 AM

IF any of this story of "Sampling" of ballot boxes is at all true, then this is indeed cause for serious concern.

IF this "Sampling" is true, then it would presage a remarkable era of partisan-based and ideolog-driven, Liberal-leaning contempt FROM the courts.

IF this story has any basis in fact it would strongly underline the subverting of Canadian Charter and Constitutional Rights, at the hands of a "progressive," activist ande Liberal-friendly judiciary.

IF these stories are true, then PMSH wasn't too far off the mark when he posited the belief that the Liberal "stacked senate and judiciary would keep a tight reign on his government," or words to that effect.

IF aathese stories are tru then we must be very nervous at the other recounts slated for this week.

IF these stories are true, why bother with any further elections? Elections Canada and an intimate coterie of proper-thinking judges could inform the nation of who exactly shall be in government for the next four years. Much more economical that way.

Low cash outlay, low level of democracy outlay as well.

IF these stories are true, the judge in question must be held responsible for forcing the lit match-stick to be moved to the tip of the fuse of the powder-keg.



Posted by: TangoJuliette at October 27, 2008 11:17 AM

Young "said she would take the weekend to ponder her next step."

But, "The Canada Elections act gives the judge presiding over a recount the option of recounting votes from some or all of the ballot boxes, along with spoiled and rejected ballots...*the results of the recount are considered final*" (CP)

To reasonable people, i.e. excluding blog-comment remora like Ted -- good morning, Ted -- there's no reasonable excuse to not count all the ballots, not when counting fifteen percent of them narrows the already tiny margin of victory.

You know, Ted, you miss the point with every new "point" you make, here or on any other thread. Diverting and naysaying sure opens up a range of random considerations -- the possibilities are mindless -- but it's functionally useless. Go tool around with people who can actually locate a moral center in any of your "positions."

The question remains: "What is wrong with counting ALL the ballots?" (JMD, 10:41) I've yet to hear any argument for only counting a few ballot boxes and then rendering judgement on who won.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 11:17 AM

The question remains: "What is wrong with counting ALL the ballots?" (JMD, 10:41) I've yet to hear any argument for only counting a few ballot boxes and then rendering judgement on who won.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 11:17 AM

Totally agree with this.

Posted by: Merle Underwood at October 27, 2008 11:31 AM

Reminds me of a Reform candidate in Edmonton who won her riding. Her opponent demanded a recount and ended up with around 130 more ballots than there were constituents. When Linda Robinson filed a complaint with Elections Canada, the response was literally "sour grapes". It was reported that way in the newspaper. We were cheated out of our Reform candidate. I've always wondered how many of the 52 ridings in Ontario that Preston Manning came a close second in were also the result of cheating. Were we also cheated out of PM Manning?

Posted by: DonnaB at October 27, 2008 11:34 AM

Who won or lost is not really known for certain. The recount of only some of the ballots resulted in the chosen winner losing ten more votes. How do we know who a total recount would produce as the winner? We don't so a cloud hangs over the whole process in this democracy. Looks like some votes are more equal than others.

Posted by: Liz J at October 27, 2008 11:36 AM

Were we cheated out of Kyle Seeback? I want to know.

Posted by: Aaron at October 27, 2008 11:41 AM

Whoever told you "basically to F Off" was probably reacting to your request as an ordinary citizen to witness the ballot count.
Next time you can get involved as a scrutineer or, as they're called nowadays, a Candidate's Representative.
Candidate's Representatives (up to two per candidate) are permitted to remain behind after the polls close and watch (scrutinize) the count and are even permitted an opinion as to whether or not a ballot is rejected.
If you chose not to work for a particular candidate you can still be present by making yourself available as an election worker. Deputy Returning Officers (each poll consists of a Deputy Returning Officer and a Poll Clerk) are the only ones authorized to count the ballots while the Poll Clerk keeps track of votes cast.
Other election officials such as the Registration Officer and Information Officer are welcome to remain behind to watch the counting but are otherwise free to leave as soon as the polls close.
Get involved.
This past election we could have had up to 32 Candidate's Representatives witnessing the count at our four poll station but only one was on hand.
Also, our local Elections Canada office was severly short-handed so some positions went unfilled. Some people consider it a fun way to meet their neighbours, take part in the democratic process and make two hundred bucks at the same time.

Posted by: NeilD at October 27, 2008 11:42 AM

If they were actually using the sample as a sample indicating the accuracy of the first count, Dosanjh lost by 30-40 votes.

Posted by: Radish at October 27, 2008 11:42 AM

Merle, not only have I not heard any arguments for counting a "sample" of ballot boxes in a really close contest, I can't even *imagine* what those hypothetical arguments might be -- "C'mon, that would take hours"? Or...?

I wish Elections Canada would explain the seemingly bizarre procedure.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 11:45 AM

What a bunch of silly Canucks we are, actually thinking that a recount meant you actually RECOUNT the frickin ballots! What are we, nuts?

Posted by: Soccermom at October 27, 2008 11:47 AM

Thanks for highlighting this story, Kate. This is a non-partisan issue. We should all be concerned.

Saskboy isn't impressed either.

At the very least, I believe we are owed an explanation.

Posted by: Joanne (T.B.) at October 27, 2008 11:49 AM

Well, after all of the fuss about the "stolen" election in Florida in '01, a media consortion including the NYT's went there and re-counted all of the ballots independently and confirmed that yes indeed Bush won on the recount.

Recounting ALL ballots matters. It would have been a farce to have recounted only a sample with such a razor thin margin.

It's always disingenuous lefties like Ted that want protected from democracy.

Posted by: penny at October 27, 2008 11:49 AM

Voter Apathy!!!! This sends a clear message to Canadians that the one vote that every Canadian is entitled to is not worth counting.
No wonder voter turn out is declining.Vancouver south is full of new Canadians and they are being told that their vote does not count. Way to go Elections Canada!! Have all the honest ,hard working Canadians left Elections Canada? Is this what you stand for now. Speak up and tell the truth. By allowing Elections Canada to manipulate democracy, Canada is losing respect in the world.
As far as the MSM, well Canadians already know they crawl around the gutter. Shame!!Canadians deserve better.

Posted by: Fay at October 27, 2008 11:50 AM

re·count (r-kount)
tr.v. re·count·ed, re·count·ing, re·counts
1. To narrate the facts or particulars of. See Synonyms at describe.
2. To enumerate.

to tell the story or details of [Old French reconter]

It obvious Elections Canada is going by the old French definition of "recount" and the story or narrative is that Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh has won Vancouver South, end of story.

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 11:58 AM


The point I am making is quite simple: if you are going to publish a post implying some outrageous corruption is involved then why does the candidate, who had scrutineers at every ballot, not share your outrage or concern over corruption.

I happen to agree with you that every ballot should be re-counted in such a situation, just like they should have been in Florida in 2001 (funny, how quickly the sides flip on principles when it is now in their favour to re-count every cast ballot!).

The question you raise in your post was not about who won or not, but whether there are corrupt practices involved. As I said, Young had scrutineers available and is dissappointed not outraged.

What I find outrageous - and the left is just as guilty - is that lately whenever there is an unwanted results partisans go full hilt for the jugular. In this case, it can't be that the Conservative lost, it can't be that it was even simply a miscount, but the WHOLE system is corrupt and favouring the other side!!!

The sky isn't falling Mr. Little.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 12:05 PM

So did a Liberal PM appoint this judge ?

How much money did this judge contribute to which Federal Party ?

Posted by: Fred at October 27, 2008 12:08 PM

EBD - It just amazes me that the elected democratic government of Canada would not do this on it's own. We are a country that sends rep's to other countries that are experiencing democratic problems in vote counting. Then we do this?.

As "NielD" put it, they earn $200 for the day as a elections counter/monitor, kind of pales in comparison of the "$300 million?" they spent to get elected as a representatives of the Canadian Parliament.

308 seats/10 volunteer's per seat @ $200 per volunteer = $308000.
1 judge to give his election Canada verdict = @ least $308000 plus all benefits with retirement for life.
I don't know about you but I would have paid the volunteer's another 2 days pay and recounted the works. That would have cost $2000 and they could of took out of the "GG's" budget for their families vacation plans for France.

"GG" shouldn't mind because country comes first.

Posted by: Merle Underwood at October 27, 2008 12:17 PM

Ted, I never said that the Conservative candidate didn't lose, I'm saying it's impossible for anyone on earth to actually *tell* who won if you don't actually count the ballots. If counting, say, fifteen or twenty percent narrows the margin from 33 to 21 votes, there's no reason to stop counting.

I never said the system is favouring the other side, either, and I never said the whole system is corrupt. I just believe -- as do you, I now understand, now that you've said so -- that it's important to actually count all the votes. It's not rocket science -- separate the ballots into two giant bins and then count them all.

I can't think of any reason not to. It's hard to believe it's even an issue in Canada. Just unfathomable, really.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 12:24 PM

If sampling the ballots instead of counting them all isn't evidence of corruption, and no reasonable explanation exists for not counting them all, then why are the ballots being sampled?

Who instituted sampling at all and what end can it serve if not some corrupt end?

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 12:31 PM

If samping is preferable to counting why not abolish elections and just rely on polls.

Posted by: dillon at October 27, 2008 12:44 PM

Canadian election practices are, to the uninitiated, somewhat odd. I posted an account of my experience as a scrutineer in a federal by-election several election cycles in the past (, which was when I discovered one of the biggest hurdles for small parties to grow to being bigger parties: no matter how many votes you receive, they still have to be _counted_ correctly.

Posted by: Nicholas at October 27, 2008 12:46 PM

Only a total recount will clear the air. The people of the riding should demand it as should the candidates and their respective parties and all of us who value our democratic right to vote and be counted.

The Judge in this case is making poor judgment, it's not a court case he's dealing with, it's people's rights to have their votes counted and recounted if necessary and in their entirety.

There's no other excuse, it's totally unacceptable and no one can excuse this practice for any reason.

Posted by: Liz J at October 27, 2008 12:47 PM

Ted once again misses the point. Follow the link. Lot's of info on EC regulations.This isn't over.

And we know that if it was the CPC candidate that 'won' by counting only a sampling of ballot boxes the media would be swarming over this and it would be the Ballot-gate scandal of '08.
I am so looking forward to PMSH running the government as if he has a majority.Time to clean up the beaurocracy.
Has anyone in MSM picked this up?
I notice still has the feature on Couilllard...cause that is soooo newsworthy.

Posted by: bluetech at October 27, 2008 12:49 PM

I would be completely shocked if this went any further than the blogs. Shocked.

Posted by: Soccermom at October 27, 2008 12:52 PM
"just like they should have been in Florida in 2001 (funny, how quickly the sides flip on principles when it is now in their favour to re-count every cast ballot!)"

You're a dumb-ass, Ted. Gore only wanted a partial in selected Dem-heavy counties. Bush's lawyers said, "No way, padre," and the rest is history.

But don't worry. It wouldn't have mattered. Bush would have won anyway even then:

"The media recount study found that under the system of limited recounts in selected counties as was requested by the Gore campaign, the only way that Gore would have won was by using counting methods that were never requested by any party, including "overvotes" — ballots containing more than one vote for an office."

Oh, and it was in 2000, not 2001, but then we've already established you're an idiot.

Posted by: Christoph at October 27, 2008 12:56 PM

First we had landslide Anne, now we have....(with a little help from his friends!!)

Posted by: Al W at October 27, 2008 12:57 PM

Judges of provincial Supreme Courts are appointed by the Federal Minister of Justice. (39 Justices make up the amazingly powerful Cdn Judicial Council)

Patrick Dohm was first appointed to the BC Supreme Court by Jean Chretien in 1980 and subsequently elevated to Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC by Allan Rock in 1995.

Posted by: WhistlerPowder at October 27, 2008 1:12 PM

Could we get a grip here folks? Personal attacks are NOT the accepted fallback position at Daimnation, when in disagreement, eh?

as for the topic:
a) I just assumed that "recount" meant that EVERY ballot was examined, approved, and counted, under the close personal supervision of a rigorously honest Judge.
b) I'd be right pissed off if it was MY ballot that was being ignored.
c) this process isn't a 'recount' by any stretch of the word. What it IS is a statistical analysis of the accuracy of the ORIGINAL count...and that seems to have been proven inaccurate.

Posted by: DaninVan at October 27, 2008 1:30 PM

bluetech.....Of course the media has not picked up on this,they are too busy reporting on the American air strikes in Syria and Pakistan.According to an"expert"the Americans are just killing civilians and turning the populace against them.I'm surprised that no American tourists have been killed in these countries with such indiscriminate bombing.

Posted by: h.ryan at October 27, 2008 1:32 PM

Oops (*very embarrassed expression*) make that SDA...and delete the personal attack not being the fallback position concept.
(note to self: more coffee)

Posted by: DaninVan at October 27, 2008 1:35 PM

ted - I don't think you can object to our outrage at the Judge not recounting all the ballots by saying that Ms Young was not reported by the MSM as 'upset' but only as 'disappointed' - and that we ought to accept her MSM-reported reaction.

It is obvious that the judge, after opening only a small number of boxes, realized that Dosanjh was losing - with a 'win' down from 33 to 22, and refused to open the rest of the boxes.

What I can't find in Elections Canada, in their procedures of Counting Ballots 2.7.2, is any mention that the judge counts only a SAMPLE rather than all the ballots.

Does anyone know where, legally, in a recount, a judge has the right to recount only a sample rather than all the ballots? As I said, in the Election Canada act I'm looking at, dealing with recounts - all the ballots have to be recounted.

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 1:35 PM

Oops (*very embarrassed expression*) make that SDA...and delete the personal attack not being the fallback position concept.
(note to self: more coffee)

Posted by: DaninVan at October 27, 2008 1:36 PM

Re: NeilD's post @ 11:42AM

This past election, I did my civic duty by voting and then acting as scrutineer on behalf of my CPC candidate up here in Vancouver Island North.

I was informed that it was largely ceremonial, as there are enough safeguards in the Election Act to prevent cheating and skullduggery, but remained skeptical.

The 2 ladies running our table were both dippers of the first order, and somehow unnerved when I showed up as the scrutineer for the Conservatives.

Our constituency office received "bingo cards" periodically throughout the day, which just showed circled numbers of eligible voters who had voted, and when, throughout the day. I had asked my team leader what was to prevent someone from voting twice, or even more, at a station run by a friend, and they claimed it was next to impossible, yet the table I scrutinized showed 5 voter numbers circled twice, at different times of the day.

When voting closed, we counted votes and it was close. My table had the NDP incumbent ahead by 8 votes, but every other table had the CPC candidate ahead. He eventually was declared winner when all the ridings were tallied.

So how does potential fraud occur? Easy. X comes in at 7AM, votes at an assigned station manned by his/her friend for party Y. He/she returns at 11AM and repeats the process, because it's his/her friend still registering. This can occur several times without raising suspicion, especially if the cheater changes clothing. The colluding party simply draws a line through the voter's name repeatedly, then hands party X another ballot.

Now, I have no idea whether the person who voted repeatedly voted for the winner or loser. I made sure the ballots were all inspected properly and the votes recorded correctly. If one person was responsible for several of those ballots is open to conjecture, but this I know full well - voting fraud exists, and probably always will.

Posted by: Alienated at October 27, 2008 1:53 PM

I've checked out the Elections Canada Manual referring to judicial recounts, which is section 2.7.2
This section says - and since this post has been rejected twice, I'll only include phrases, but, the phrases are:

"counting all of the ballots" and "each ballot is counted again".

There is no statement that refers to any partial recount. The words used are 'all of the ballots'.

So, does anyone know where this reference to it being legal to only count some of the ballots comes from? Is it actually a rule or is it false?

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 1:59 PM

"It is obvious that the judge, after opening only a small number of boxes, realized that Dosanjh was losing - with a 'win' down from 33 to 22, and refused to open the rest of the boxes.

ET - It is obvious that you don't know what you are talking about. Please provide your evidence that a judge started opening boxes and then stopped the recount process when it went for Dosanjh. Obviously, you don't have any.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 2:01 PM

"If this is such an affront to democracy why is Young conceded and accepting defeat?"

Well Ted, perhaps the candidate doesn't have the funds left to fight on. Taking all this before a judge is expensive, and if you lose you wind up paying your competitors legal expensed. Trust me, I know because I've been down that road. How far are you willing to go in debt to protect your neighbour's democratic rights Ted?

Posted by: CanuckInMI at October 27, 2008 2:07 PM

I find it down right scary that they only do partial recounts. Watching several election results at local level it was always interesting to see the votes from each poll as they came in and tying it to a particular geographical district. The polls by the universities tended to have different voting trends than say a poll from the suburbs or even the gov'mt housing. If they choose only a select number of boxes then who decides which ones to count?

There is a lot of talk down south about voter fraud but wouldn't the old puprple voter's thumb elliminate a lot of that fraud?

Posted by: Texas Canuck at October 27, 2008 2:11 PM

"The usual suspects in the MSM aren't concerned about the issue..." because it helped a Liberal retain a seat that he may very well have actually lost to a Conservative. It's a safe bet that were it the other way around, the Liberals' lickspittle propagandists in the MSM would be screaming bloody murder.

Another thing Canada and America have in common-an MSM that is 90% incompetent, corrupt, biased.

Posted by: Dave in Pa. at October 27, 2008 2:12 PM


Thank you for your civil response. We agree that it is better for a re-count to be a re-count and not just a sampling. We also agree that there isn't any justifiable reason not to do the whole thing. The only reason I can think of is where the apparently losing candidate questions the results of only one poll (i.e. results of one poll out of whack with others or with own knowledge of the riding), but even then, count the whole thing. For some reason it is an option available and it is the one chosen.

My point - and looking back I admit to blurring the lines between your post and the responses from commenters to it - is that if the people on the ground and present and with the most at stake in the results, i.e. the candidate and the CPC who had scrutineers at each poll, have not expressed any concern about corruption and voter fraud, I see no reason why so many here seem to just assume that the judge is corrupt.

This kind of tin-foil-hat-conspiracy-theory-all-the-institutions-are-lined-up-against-us whining and assuming by those on the extreme right and left is in my view a part of undermining of our democracy and the strengths of our country. The far left and the far right do it on every issue - it's like they can't understand why so few across the country support their view and why anyone would vote for the other side, so there must be some sort of institutional or corporate or foreign corruption at work. Because there could never be any other explanation.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 2:12 PM

A full recount should be done.

If Young won and for some reason decides not to serve?

Step down, resign, whatever.

All this does is encourage more voter apathy.

"My vote doesn't count? Forget about voting the next time..."

Posted by: Hard Right at October 27, 2008 2:16 PM

I left an earlier comment but it probably got stuck in the filter since it contained a link.

In any case, thanks for the traffic, Kate.

Dr. Dawg's picked it up now, as has Kady O'Malley.

Hopefully we'll get some answers with enough exposure.

Posted by: Joanne (T.B.) at October 27, 2008 2:21 PM

Wow, I find myself agreeing with Ted. Will wonders never cease. ;)

Seriously, though, although it seems fishy to me, and seems only right that a recount involve counting all ballots, I cannot, in any good conscience, pretend to know why the judge chose not to count all the ballots, but just a sampling.

Regardless of the reason, even if it's allowed by EC edict (which I'm not sure it is--seems a little fuzzy to me), it's wrong. All ballots must be counted in order to make for a legitimate recount. Otherwise, at best, we can call it a re-estimate.

I do find it interesting, though, that this has not been picked up as a huge story in the MSM. Again, I won't speculate as to why. I just think this is a bigger story than Coulliard's ... other things.

Posted by: Johann at October 27, 2008 2:24 PM

ted - what is obvious is that the judge didn't do a full recount. Therefore, it is equally obvious that at some point in time, he stopped the recount.

My insertion of a cause as to WHY he stopped the recount is, certainly speculative. But there has to be a reason why he didn't fulfil section 2.7.2 of the Electoral Act on Judicial Recounts and count all the ballots. So - what's your explanation?

After all, you speculated that since the MSM did not report Ms Young as 'upset', then, according to you, she wasn't upset and that meant the win/lose issue was not serious.

Again, I'd like to ask if anyone knows where it says that it is an Elections Canada Rule where a recount, carried out by a judge, can be only partial rather than full. As I've said, I can't find such a rule in Elections Canada. Instead, it says the opposite - that all ballots are recounted.

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 2:40 PM

I seriously doubt that the Judge is doing the counting personally. Therefore we can discount laziness, shortness of time, and expense as considerable reasons for not doing a complete recount of all the ballots.

Corruption is the only option left as an explanation.

If Ted or anyone else has no explanation why ALL of the ballots have not been counted, it is unreasonable to discount corruption as an explanation in absence of any other because sampling the ballots only IS corruption of the democratic system and corruption is the only explanation.
(Occam's Razor)

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 2:49 PM

It has nothing to do with laziness! Check out Dawg's Blog as well (someone whom I argued with all the time as he's trapped in postmodernism).

But Dawg is saying the same thing. There's no rule in the Elections Canada Manual that allows a recount to be partial. The recount can be by several methods.

Arithmetic, where you simply tally the results of the already-counted ballots, to check for errors in addition.
Recount, where you, or your supervised agents, recount ALL the ballots. The recount can include only the already-defined as valid ones, or the whole set. But, it's a full recount.

This hasn't been done in Dosanjh's riding. The Electoral Mandate requires a judicial recount in that area because of the low win ratio. The judge didn't carry out the legal requirement.

Again, this 'myth' that a judge can carry out a recount by doing only a sample of the boxes - where does that story come from? It's not in the Law!

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 2:54 PM

Ted; in your last response to EBD you were trying to push Dumbo out of the livingroom. It's exactly for the reasons you hold up for ridicule (public distrust) that a full and absolutely transparent recount is ESSENTIAL!
This lack of confidence in our institutions is a growing cancer.

Posted by: DaninVan at October 27, 2008 2:56 PM

"what is obvious is that the judge didn't do a full recount. Therefore, it is equally obvious that at some point in time, he stopped the recount."

That is illogical, ET. If the judge determined at the outset that only samples would be counted, then he did not "stop the recount".

So again ET, please provide your evidence that the Judge "refused" to open other boxes, which of course implies that he was otherwise expected or obliged to do so.

Based on what we know from this article, Young was "disappointed" and the Conservative Party has not complained of corruption or even that the judge's sampling process was improper.

Like I said, I think there should always be a full re-count, but I don't have any evidence of corruption or impropriety so, unlike the conspiracy theorists, I don't jump to conclude corruption and bias like so many here.

Corruption and bias charges for the right are like racist charges for the left. So overused and used in such an automatic knee-jerk reaction manner without any connection to available facts that the terms become meaningless.

There is real racism out there and the left have done themselves and all of us a great disservice by casting out cries of racism whenever a minority is involved. Similarly, there may be real corruption in our voting systems, at the very least the need for certain reforms, but the constant cries of corruption and fraud drown out any real voice for reform.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 2:57 PM

"Corruption and bias charges for the right are like racist charges for the left. So overused and used in such an automatic knee-jerk reaction manner without any connection to available facts that the terms become meaningless."

Rather than slander the reasonable Right by comparing it to emotionally driven Left why don't you have ANY explanation to offer as an alternative to corruption in this particular instance?

An blanket ad hominem attack against the Right and a strawman argument, no matter how general, isn't going to cut it.

If you don't have an alternative explanation you have no reason to rule out corruption.

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 3:04 PM

The point, dear Oz, is that accusing someone of fraud and corruption is an extremely serious charge, espcially if they are in a position of power and authority or a judge.

Yet, with no evidence, and as far as anyone is aware the principle parties not making any claims of even impropriety, let alone criminal conduct, so many automatically assume that corruption must be disproven before it can be ruled out.

I think that it is a habit of many conservatives here to make that kind of assumption and I think it is bad for democracy to always so automatically assume corruption without any evidence. I think the more obvious and stronger and more logical conclusion is that, if there was even a hint of corruption or fraud, we would hear about from those that were - unlike everyone here - actually there or actually had a direct stake in the results, i.e. Wai Young and the Conservative Party.

Even Joanne True Blue, who started this with her post, doesn't claim corruption. That is only an add-on by the conservative conspiracy theorists here who, like conspiracy theorists of all political stripes, have never relied on evidence to support their pet conspiracy.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 3:16 PM

As ET has stated, the law calls for the recounting of every ballot.
The purpose of a Judge is to see that the letter of the law is adhered to.

The Judge is not adhering to the law.
The alternative explanation to corruption and the Judge failing to do a job of work is...(crickets chirping)

I have an explanation, you Ted dearie, do not.

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 3:21 PM

"You lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost...

Get over it!

-Devin Maxwell

Devin (mate) -a.k.a "Numb-nuts"
If you can't see that is common sense for ALL votes to be counted in a close election then you (my friend) are a complete moron.

Discussions with people like Devin are like playing cards with my brothers kids!

Posted by: FredA at October 27, 2008 3:25 PM

Alienated, you have brought up another issue that was reported over at Blue like you: voting more than once. Apparently, at this polling station the tally book of the DRO hac 500 voters marked off but there were 800 ballots in the box! The whole election could be overturned if this fraud occurred in other ridings.

I was a scrutineer for my CPC M.P. here in the Yukon and I heard two very disturbing conversations about multiple voting because I stepped outside for a smoke beside the pay telephone - where I heard two people talking about their success about being 'sworn in' and voting again. EC Canada was doing all the bingo sheets FOR us - I was told there was no point in me going over to the polling station because there would be nothing for me to do (at the CPC office!). I went anyway and I saw quite a few other irregularities that really upset me. This was another 'tainted' election, IMO.

Maybe we won in a landslide but do we want a 'do over'? Maybe people should participate more and take control of our Democracy before EC Canada takes it over for us.

Posted by: Jema 54 at October 27, 2008 3:25 PM

Maybe people should participate more and take control of our Democracy before EC Canada takes it over for us.

Jema 54, if there is one lesson to take away from this, you just said it there. Don't assume that everyone will play by the rules.

Get involved. There are never enough scrutineers.

Posted by: Joanne (T.B.) at October 27, 2008 3:33 PM

yes, ted, the judge was obliged, legally, to open all the boxes and do a full recount. Read Elections Canada, Judicial Recount, Section 2.7.2.

There is nothing in this law that enables a partial recount. Nothing.

Kady O'Malley has made an error in her blog, when she posts a section from this same Elections Canada blog (I've tried to post sections but Kate's spam rejects my posts when I do so). Kady's section is from General Information, Backgrounder, and tell us that a judicial recount can refer to 'some or all of the ballots'. But, when you go into the Detailed Section on Judicial Recounts, you find that this general term refers to counting only the valid ballots, or to include the spoiled and rejected ones as well.

Again, a recount is, legally, to include all ballots. Not just a few boxes. All boxes.

Ted, I agree with you about 'conspiracy theories' which are emotional rather than rational. But, this fact, that the judge did not carry out the judicial recount according to the rules of Elections Canada, ie, to count ALL boxes of ballots, is an illegal action on his part.

Could you provide an explanation for his failure?

And your bringing in that Young and the CPC haven't complained (how do you know this?) is not relevant. Are you seriously supporting a legal system where, if the victim doesn't complain, then the illegal action is OK?

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 3:42 PM


There are lots of other far more likely and far more logical possibilities that are far more consistent with the evidence.

Maybe he made a mistake in applying the law or was in fact incompetent. Maybe we are all misinterpreting Young's comment - maybe Young was disappointed that the judge chose to count only valid ballots as he is permitted instead of spoilt ballots too. The Elections Canada website says that a sample is allowed - "The judge makes the recount from the statements contained in the ballot boxes, or recounts some or all of the ballots returned by the deputy returning officers. The judge then totals the ballots cast for each candidate as well as spoiled or rejected ballots" - so maybe he just decided not to go on. Maybe he was lazy.

Again, if those who were ACTUALLY there and have an ACTUAL DIRECT stake in the results are not complaining about corruption and fraud... and the only ones who are are the fringe in the blogosphere... then most reasonable people looking at this from the outside would conclude that (1) they don't know and (2) there is no evidence of corruption.

And Oz, others, just a tip: if you want to go on libelling someone, the absence of any supporting evidence is not a defence.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 3:54 PM

I talked about this subject on Readers Tips last Saturday after reading the articles on it in the Herald & on
How can you have a Fair & Unbiased Recount if all the ballots are not checked, This does not make any sense at all.
I also said that if the shoe was on the other foot, well think about it.
Today looking around i see this is making traction with NNW now posting a few pickups on the subject.
And No i don't believe this is going to Quietly go away.

Posted by: bryanr at October 27, 2008 4:05 PM

This partial recount is an outrage. Given the trend for the commie win to decrease as more ballot boxes were recounted it appears that the conservative candidate won. Time to flood elections Canada with protest letters.

Is there any option for a private citizen to take this issue to court? I don't think that most of us are interested in making yet more contributions to fight totalitarianism but this is a cause I'd be willing to put in $100.

Posted by: loki at October 27, 2008 4:12 PM

Ted, you've lost the argument give up.

There can be no legitimate excuse for not recounting all ballots, to do anything less is a sham,a scam, a farce and a mockery of our democratic process. If this is the case, why bother to recount at all?

This is a glaring example of incompetency or bad judgment on the part of the Judge. He has no idea what opening and counting all ballots will reveal unless they're counted. We take our democratic system seriously and it's not a guessing game.

Posted by: Liz J at October 27, 2008 4:17 PM

ted - that quote from Elections Canada General Information does NOT mean that a 'sample' is allowed in a judicial recount.

When you move from reading 'General information' to the section 2.7.2 on the actual details of a judicial recount, you see that the ballots referred to aren't a sample. The recount can refer only to valid ballots, or, he can also recount both the valid ballots plus all spoiled and rejected ballots.

Again, this interpretation of the General Information sentence to mean that a recount allows a sample is a false interpretation. Go into the actual rules for a judicial recount, and the words used are 'all'. The actual words are 'counting all the ballots' and 'each ballot is counted again'.

There is absolutely no legal grounds for the judge to have only counted a few boxes. It's all the valid ballots, or all the valid ballots plus all spoiled and rejected ones. He didn't do this.

There must be a legal recount.

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 4:18 PM


I'd be frustrated by losing at cards to my nieces and nephews too...

Posted by: Devin Maxwell at October 27, 2008 4:31 PM

Not having voted in the last two or three Federal elections, I was surprised to discover they are still using the old style ballots where I voted this time. No optical scanners/counters in use anywhere? Seem to recall them being used in provincial and municipal elections and even some other elections in the past.

Posted by: Sgt Lejaune at October 27, 2008 4:35 PM

Not having voted in the last two or three Federal elections, I was surprised to discover they are still using the old style ballots where I voted this time. No optical scanners/counters in use anywhere? Seem to recall them being used in provincial and municipal elections and even some other elections in the past.

Posted by: Sgt Lejaune at October 27, 2008 4:36 PM

Liz J: I think we are in full agreement so I'm not sure what you mean by "lost the argument". My single and only issue here is that no one has enough evidence - or any evidence for that matter - that this was out and out corruption and fraud. And the evidence points to any number of possibilities that don't involve fraud. That's all. Oz, ET, EBD, etc. are libelling a judge by claiming so and I find the casual fact-free conclusions of fraud and corruption offensive for the reasons stated above.

On whether or not there should be a full recount - whether or not a partial recount is permitted - we are in violent agreement as they say.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 4:39 PM


Still waiting for your evidence that the judge deliberately refused to keep counting and stopped the counting process.

Any shred of evidence? Your guesses don't count.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 4:41 PM

Alienated's comments are very interesting and I'm surprised that elections Canada hasn't gone to a computerized database system to ensure that people vote only once. I had the option in voting in one of two ridings this election since I can argue that I live either in the interior of BC or Vancouver. Having to come up with some identification which shows my address was a problem as I not have mail going to 6 different addresses (trying to simplify this now). I chose to vote in the interior as the Conservative candidate there won and it was a novel experience to actually vote for someone in a federal election who won. (Aside from Stan Waters in 1988).

As it turned out, I didn't have to provide proof of address, or even official government ID (Hospital ID badges seem to be accepted almost unquestioningly) but I could have flown to Vancouver and voted there as my drivers license still has a Vancouver address.

It would be very simple to setup a temporary network which would enter the names of everyone who voted in a computerized database and check if they had already voted or whether they had voted in two places. I presume that the voters list has been checked to look for duplicates as one can get the situation of two people with identical names and birthdates living in different parts of the country.

I don't like the idea of electronic voting unless the system is open source as the US system has the potential for considerable abuse. Paper ballots are a lot harder to forge (because one needs so many of them) and a combination of a paper ballot together with electronic system to ensure that people don't vote more than once would probably be optimum. The purple dye on the thumb has come up but that system is a lot easier to foil with various solvents than a computerized database.

Posted by: loki at October 27, 2008 4:43 PM

I've always assumed that when a recount was done all of the ballots were recounted. I'm really shocked to learn otherwise. I've just checked Elections Canada's website and the results of the recount in Vancouver South STILL have not been posted. This must be investigated.

Posted by: Bruce from Cambridge at October 27, 2008 4:46 PM

Don't be shocked Bruce.
The way this was done isn't the way it's supposed to be done.

A sample count isn't described in the Election Recount Rules.
Only a full recount is.

The Judge with the duty to carry out the recount is not carrying out his duty according to the law in this particular instance.

Posted by: Oz at October 27, 2008 4:59 PM

ted - grow up and don't introduce a red herring into this discussion.

I said it was speculation. But speculation based on the observable facts. What are the facts? That he didn't carry out his legal requirement - which is to count ALL ballots. That's what it says in the Elections Canada rule book for a judicial recount. All ballots have to be recounted.

I'm equally waiting for your evidence that Ms Young was 'not upset'; and therefore, that the situation is not serious. Oh, and your opinion on why he stopped the count and didn't count all ballots in all boxes.

Don't get into a red herring issue just because you and I have little in common to say on any issue.

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 5:04 PM

The Court Party is again interfering with electoral process in Canada.
It was not enough that they handed blood stained Order of Canada to Morgentaler on the eve of election and rubbed it into faces of all social conservatives living in this country by showing them that their protests mean nothing. Now they send their goon from Canadian Judicial Council "to do a recount" and he blatantly refused to do what was expected of him.
Once again they will show all Canadians who is running this country.

Posted by: Karol at October 27, 2008 5:05 PM

What red herring ET? You said it was obvious that he refused to continue counting. I'm still waiting for a scintilla of evidence to support what you claim is "obvious" corruption.

All that any of you know is that the Canadian Press has reported that Young said she was disappointed that not all of the ballots were counted. I guess we also know that the Conservatives have not made any press release regarding this and that Young has conceded.

There is no law that requires all ballots to be counted. Read the act. The judge can either count the valid ballots or excluding spoilt ballots, or all of the ballots including spoilt ballots.

Was Young disappointed that the judge only did a sampling? Or was Young disappointed that the judge only chose to count valid ballots? If it was fraud, then why have we not heard a peep from the Conservative Party, from Young or the many scrutineers for the the Conservatives or the NDP?

I don't know. And unlike some conspiracy theorists here I prefer to draw my conclusions on what I know and what the evidence says. And based on the evidence we have, what we know (and not what we guess or hope for), I can't see how anyone conclude there is fraud.

This is politics: no one waits for all the evidence to come in before making accusations (as we see in this post and commentary), and yet we have no comments from anyone actually involved, only the wild speculation from those on the fringe in the blogosphere.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 5:12 PM

For heaven's sake, ted, the law is clear. Don't now inform us that 'there is no law that says that all ballots must be counted'. What country are you living in? The Elections Act is clear: ALL ballots must be counted. Not a sample. Not just a few boxes. But ALL ballots.

Don't slither, as you usually do, by trying to introduce a different semantic meaning to the term ALL. The Election Act is very clear about judicial recounts. It refers to all valid ballots or, all valid ballots plus all spoiled and rejected ballots. The key term is 'all'.

This set of all ballots (valid or valid plus spoiled and rejected) is not semantically equivalent to 'sampling'. It's not semantically equivalent to 'just counting a few boxes'. So, stop slithering.

The problem is - the judge did not carry out his duties as required by the Election Act. Section 2.7.2. OK?

He didn't count all ballots. He just counted those in a few boxes.

And now, you are informing us that the judge counted all 'valid ballots'? Heh, that's not what we've been told. We've been told that he only counted those in a few boxes. The Chronicle Herald and the CBC both reported that he chose to open only a few boxes. But, the Law requires that he open all, and count all the valid ones. Or, all the valid ones plus all the spoiled ones. But, he has no right to only open a few boxes.

Again, your thesis that the victim is not upset but is merely disappointed, is irrelevant. The law is the law, no matter what the victor or victim feels about it.

Again, you haven't told us why you think the judge only opened a few boxes and didn't count all the ballots.

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 5:50 PM


Still have that reading comprehension problem I see.

What part of "I don't know" is difficult for you to understand? What part of "he should count all the ballots" do you not understand? What part of "there isn't enough evidence to conclude corruption" do you not understand?

You fail to make any sense whatsoever, ET. Yes the law permits the judge to re-count only validly cast ballots instead of all ballots. But that is, as I SAID, not relevant.

So stop trying to change the issues ET. You made the assertion that it was "obvious" he refused and that it was "obvious" that he "stopped" the re-count. I've asked again and again where is you evidence? Where is your evidence of corruption?

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2008 6:03 PM

ET you have done your reseach and there seem to be no point engaging with TED.Joannes blog has lot's of info on the format as well.
If the judge decided not to follow EC rules it's quite simple:
1.He' didn't read the rules
2.He's intellectually challenged
3.He's got an agenda
4.He ran out of time...had to get home to a dinner party.

Gee we best not to second guess any motives here, eh Ted?

Posted by: bluetech at October 27, 2008 6:04 PM

If only 28 of 184 ballot boxes were counted and produced an 11 vote shift in the results, could we assume that counting 56 more boxes would produce a tie with the 22 vote margin disappearing entirely? If so, count 57 or more boxes and Ujal loses; count them all and he’s finished.

On the other hand perhaps less than an 11 vote difference was discovered by counting 28 boxes, and the actual difference, say 1 or 2 votes was extrapolated or projected into 11 votes for the entirety.

Either way, it’s just too close to call. Being a late Friday afternoon in a stuffy recount room, should have no bearing, or adjourning without properly completing the recount.

As far as the so-called “conspiracy theory” from an obviously bored reporter, if she’s this disinterested in her job, let her find a new one. I am insulted by her flippant suggestion. Democratic process is more important than cheap shots.

Posted by: David at October 27, 2008 6:26 PM

If 28 boxes were re-counted then the re-count was started. If less than 184 boxes were re-counted, then re-count was stopped before it was complete. The definitions of these words and the temporal behaviour involved is a matter of English and logic, Ted's opinions don't enter into it.

Posted by: Vitruvius at October 27, 2008 6:33 PM

After 40 years of Socialism what did we expect? Anyway I do believe that the only way to fix it, is to start reforming every govermental Department, by the Govener General. For sure have some referendums on the topics our politicians weaseled out of to the courts, & let this society mend by a Democratic consensus.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at October 27, 2008 6:44 PM

Just heard on the news that Young will be going to court for another recount. Perhaps she is more upset than Ted thinks.

Posted by: randall g at October 27, 2008 7:10 PM

Randall, do you have a link or at least can you give the news source? Thanks.

Posted by: Joanne (T.B.) at October 27, 2008 7:45 PM

The issue is getting serious blogo-legs -- thanks, Joanne. Right now the questions are growing faster than the answers. Dr. Dawg suggested at his site that Elections Canada is the wrong target here; the judge did have discretion, he says, but"counting some valid ballots and not others is not among those options." At Kady O'Malley's disagrees, saying that the B.C. judge's "sampling" recount is within the guidelines set out in the Canada Elections act. Dawg replied, in her comments, that she is mistaken, and she responded with a link to the EC rules, which seem to favour her interpretation: the night of an election, all ballots boxes must of course be opened and counted -- rooty-toot-toot for that one -- but if there's a recount, which, if I understand correctly, only occurs when a race is very close, that's when a mere "sampling" (to use Con. candidate Young's "a sample") is actually allowed:

"The judge makes the recount from the statements contained in the ballot boxes, or recounts some or all of the ballots returned by the deputy returning officers. The judge then totals the ballots cast for each candidate as well as spoiled or rejected ballots." (emph. mine).

I'd be curious to know when -- in what "era" -- that bit was written in, and by who. Who is the author? EC? An EC lawyer? Some party lawyer? Or was it passed in parliament and by the Senate, or was it the work of EC bureaucrats, or...? It's bloody ridiculous, regardless. If we read that in Zimbabwe a judge could recount just some ballot boxes in a close election and then declare the winner, we wouldn't be surprised but...just strange.

From the comments at BLY: "I do agree with (O'Malley) that in Van South, the judge seems to have unilaterally decided on his course of action. However, I think it is incumbent on Elections Canada to step in and apply the rules, even if he is an Associate Chief Justice. Elections Canada seem to have no problem playing hardball with the federal government, but of course the local EC people may be somewhat less combative." (emph. mine)

Right now, it seems like that judge WAS playing by the rules, as far as I can tell, which isn't surprising. But who the heck made these rules, and what were they thinking?

BTW Ted, if you can't see by now that the issue of how upset Young was/wasn't as described by CP ISN'T THE ISSUE HERE, perhaps you should go somewhere where her described mood is seen by other commenters as being the hinge/critical issue. Good luck with that.

You've made your point repeatedly, implying that it somehow obviates the real issue -- that all the ballots weren't counted, in a close and tightening race -- but it's a complete red herring. Just drop it.

Moving on, it would be really helpful if someone from Elections Canada, or the person/people who wrote the rules, would explain the logic behind them.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 8:09 PM

The news source is

Posted by: Ruth at October 27, 2008 8:11 PM

The latest wee bit of good news....Thursday Supreme Court for a re-count of the re-count!!

Posted by: Jan at October 27, 2008 8:22 PM

Thanks, Ruth.

"The woman who lost a close race in the federal riding of Vancouver-South isn't giving up the fight. The initial Count in the October 14th election gave Ujjal Dosanjh a 33-vote lead over Conservative rival Wai Young.

"The close result triggered an automatic recount (that) reduced Dosanjh's lead to 22 votes.

"Now Young is off to BC Supreme court Thursday to ask for another count."

Yes. If she loses she should take it to the Canadian Supreme Court.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 8:23 PM

Thanks, Ruth and Jan! This is awesome!!

Posted by: Joanne (T.B.) at October 27, 2008 8:24 PM

SDA gets results! Cheers Joanne - I know you deserve HUGE credit for this blogburst because you started it!

Posted by: Jema 54 at October 27, 2008 8:44 PM

Sorry, should have mentioned I heard it on CKNW radio. They didn't have it on their website yet so no link was available.

Posted by: randall g at October 27, 2008 8:45 PM

The story from Canadian Press (on MacLeans site)has more details. Judge Dohm could turn this down and the Conservative spokesman says in that event they may have to go to the Court of Appeals!!!!

Posted by: Jan at October 27, 2008 8:54 PM

EBD- no, as I pointed out in several posts above, Kady O'Malley was quite wrong in her interpretation of the rules.

She provided a link to only the General Information part of the Elections Canada Manual. It just gives an overview of counting and recounts. But, when you go into the specific section in that same manual on judicial recounts, you realize that the phrase 'some or all of the ballots' refers to ALL of the valid ballots OR ALL of the valid ballots PLUS the spoiled and rejected ballots.

Get it? 'Some' doesn't refer to a sample; it It means that you don't have to also count the spoiled and rejected ballots. Just all the valid ones.

I repeat. Go to section 2.7.2 and it sets out in clear and exact detail how the recount must be done. It's very specific. The words used are 'all the ballots'. Kady's failure to check the Manual for the specific rules has led her to that incorrect interpretation of the general information wording.

No, the judge was NOT playing by the rules. He was in violation of them!

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 8:59 PM

Thanks ET, I take your word for it.

If the judge was in violation of EC rules, Young's upcoming appeal on Thursday to the B.C. Supreme Court should be a slam-dunk -- unless all recounts are in fact "final."

A lot of people are going to be watching this one.

(BTW, h/t to you too, randall g)

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 9:08 PM

Hm mm, Cod. I smell fish!

Posted by: RW at October 27, 2008 9:09 PM

I've read that Elections Canada manual several times, with reference to judicial recounts, and I simply can't see where it says that a judge has the option of EITHER 'counting all the valid votes plus spoiled and rejected ballots' OR 'only those from a sampling of ballot boxes'. These quotes are from the maclean's site.

I can't see such a rule in the Elections Canada mandate. What I have found, section 2.7.2 is the rule that the judge can count EITHER all the valid votes OR all the valid votes plus all the spoiled and rejected ballots.

Get it? The Either-Or framework is clear in section 2.7.2, and it doesn't refer to only counting a sample of the boxes. It's very clear. All the valid ballots must be counted. Or, all the valid plus all the spoiled and rejected ballots. Keyword is 'All'.

And if he opened only 28 out of 184 boxes, and reduced the vote from 33 to 22, then, another 28 might reduce it to 11, and yet another might reduce it to zero and yet another 28...etc.

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 9:10 PM

I too, worked the election for the CPC candidate. By walking around, talking to the DRO and PC at each of the 12 polls I worked, I quickly figured out which polls were manned by dippers and which had normal people. By paying more attention to the dippers, I hope I prevented any double dipping. I observed the counting at 6 polls, in fact explained to them how to correctly set up their count, and at one even had to explain the tally procedure. After the counting, which included discussing ONE! spoiled ballot, verified and signed off the count. I saw a total of five Candidate Reps all day, four of us were CPC, and one dipper, who I coincidentally knew.


Posted by: IanV at October 27, 2008 9:11 PM

Free @10.27 am.

I watched the vote counting in 6 polls. I worked for the Conservatives as a scrutineer. You can do the same next time.

Posted by: RW at October 27, 2008 9:12 PM

From a Canadian Press story, at

"The Elections Act gives the judge supervising the recount the option of counting all the valid votes, plus spoiled and rejected ballots, or only those from a sampling of ballot boxes. In the Vancouver South recount B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm opted to recount votes from 28 out of 184 ballot boxes."

The recount -- such as it is -- narrowed Dosanjh's margin of victory from 33 to 22 votes.

"(Conservative party official Ray) Leach conceded getting Dohm to change his mind was a long shot. 'He did say that he felt there wasn't enough changes to warrant continuing on...'" (emph. mine)

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 9:19 PM

For the record, Dohm signed the warrant for former Premier Glen Clarke, giving Ujjal the Premiership. He also had a hand in dismissing the drug charges against Bassi and Virk, both connected to Ujjal.

Posted by: IanV at October 27, 2008 9:21 PM

EBD said 'He did say that he felt there wasn't enough changes to warrant continuing on...'" (emph. mine)

Get your stories and ridings straight EBD. This last quote in your comment was from today's news story about the re-count in Esquimalt when the Conservative spokesman conceded and recognized the validity of the re-count and hence recognizing Keith Martin's victory.

Posted by: Jan at October 27, 2008 9:31 PM

Get your own stories and your own ridings straight, Jan. Seriously. If you're going to come like that, shouldn't you, you know, be right?

Here's the full article, O-tay?

VANCOUVER, B.C. - "A Vancouver Conservative candidate who lost a federal election recount last week is appealing the result in court.

"Wai Young lost the judicial recount to Vancouver South incumbent Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh by just 22 votes on Friday but Conservative party official Ray Leitch says she's unhappy that not all the ballot boxes were rechecked in the process.

"Leitch says a lawyer for Young will appear Thursday in a B.C. Supreme Court to ask a judge to check every vote cast.

"The Elections Act gives the judge supervising the recount the option of counting all the valid votes, plus spoiled and rejected ballots, or only those from a sampling of ballot boxes.

"In the Vancouver South recount B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm opted to recount votes from 28 out of 184 ballot boxes.

"An automatic judicial recount was triggered because Dosanjh led by only 33 votes when results were tallied on election night Oct. 14.

"The recount gave Dosanjh, a former NDP premier of British Columbia, 16,109 votes to Young's 16,087.

"Leitch says that all the ballot boxes should be reopened and their votes counted, noting that a full recount Friday in a Quebec riding overturned a Bloc Quebecois victory in favour of the Liberal challenger.

"The recount in Vancouver South found four vote changes in 22 of the 28 boxes that were opened, raising the possibility of 30 or more vote changes in the unopened boxes, Leitch says.

"He conceded getting Dohm to change his mind was a long shot.

"He did say that he felt that there wasn't enough changes to warrant continuing on," said Leitch. "I guess we have to make a stronger case...."

"Leitch would not rule out going to the B.C. Court of Appeal if the request fails.

"Another election recount was taking place Monday in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, where incumbent Liberal Keith Martin held onto his seat by only 68 votes over Conservative lawyer Troy DeSouza."

Follow-up comment, Jan?

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 9:41 PM

EBD - the Maclean's story is as false as Kady O'Malleys. Please go to the Elections Canada manual yourself. Check out the manual on Judicial Recounts.

You'll see that it is extremely detailed and that it doesn't, anywhere that I can see, say a word about opening only some of the boxes. Instead, it specifically says that all ballots must be counted. The only option is counting all the valid ballots or counting all the valid ones plus all the spoiled and rejected ones.

I've tried posting from there but my posts get sent to Kate's spam each time (five times in one thread! Is that a record?)

Posted by: ET at October 27, 2008 10:07 PM

It seems that the Court Party is sweating bullets tonight. Troy DeSouza is a lawyer so his entire future professional career is on line in this fiasco. Poor guy had no other choice than validate partial re-count decision of Justice Patrick Dohm from last Friday. The next thing we will hear that Justice Dohm stopped the re-count at Wai Young’s request or that there was some misunderstanding to that effect, this will play very good in Appeal Court.

Just read for yourself:

===Keith Martin wins election in recount===
68 votes separated Martin from Conservative challenger
Times Colonist
Published: Monday, October 27, 2008
Keith Martin has won re-election as Liberal MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca after a recount was called off this afternoon.

Conservative challenger Troy DeSouza called off the recount after it became apparent that the number of disputed ballots would not bridge the gap between him and Martin.

In the election night count, on Oct. 14, Martin won by a 68-vote margin.

Martin had 20,042 votes to DeSouza’s 19,974.

The margin of votes between DeSouza and Martin widened to 70 ballots in the recount, not counting 67 disputed ballots which were not resolved because DeSouza terminated the recount.

“It worked out in the best spirit of democracy and luckily we came out on the right side,” said Martin.

DeSouza had sought and was granted a judicial recount.

The margin of defeat in the original vote was too wide to trigger an automatic recount.

DeSouza said earlier that he wanted a recount to maintain public confidence in the electoral system, given the likelihood of human error during the long and complicated election-night proceedings.

Martin did not oppose the recount.

DeSouza’s lawyer Bruce Hallsor provided 18 sworn affidavits by Conservative party scrutineers who alleged some ballots were rejected or improperly counted. For example, one scrutineer alleged Elections Canada counted a ballot where the person marked an “X” on the candidate’s name, not in the ballot’s circle.

Numerous affidavits alleged some polling stations recorded more or fewer votes than the actual number of voters.

The cost of the recount is covered by Elections Canada, including the $750-a-day charge for the Empress room.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives are each permitted to bring three lawyers and 25 staff.

Elections Canada provides their own officials and legal staff from Ottawa.

The Times Colonist won a precedent-setting decision to attend and report on the judicial recount. It’s believed to be the first time a media organization has been allowed to witness the Elections Canada proceedings, which have previously been held in secret.

Posted by: Karol at October 27, 2008 10:11 PM

EBD O'tay EBD but you should have put in the entire quote. It might have been easier to differentiate the two re-counts going on. Your short version was self serving and didn't enlighten the reader at all given that there are two re-counts we've been commenting about. But yes o'tay. Gee if I was paranoid I'd think you're being very condescending and elitist instead of simply conversing.

Posted by: Jan at October 27, 2008 10:31 PM

That's entirely specious, Karol, what you say about DeSouza "professional career was on the line" so he had "no choice but to validate" a different judge's decision in a different recount in a different riding last Friday.

DeSouza saw the gap widening, and no significant change indicating a hope for winning, and he conceded. Keith Martin, an honourable man who welcomed a full recount, and considered it important to our democratic process, was gracious in victory.

ET: I was not in any way verifying or attempting to verify Macleans' views of what the Elections Act says. Again, I fully accept your interpretation until someone proves otherwise -- you ain't no monkey. I was responding to Jan's suggestion that I "get (my) stories and ridings straight." She falsely claimed that Ray Leitch's quote about Dohm saying "there wasn't enough changes (in the first 28 out of 148 boxes) to warrant continuing on" applied to Martin and the Esquimalt riding. It didn't, obviously -- different judge, for one thing.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 10:38 PM

Well sorry, Jan, but I simply accurately quoted from an article about the Dosanjh/Young recount. You responded that I should get my facts straight.

Since there are two different judges overseeing the two different recounts, your suggestion that a direct quote about Ray Leitch regarding Dohm -- the judge for the Young/Dosanjh recount -- applied to the different riding is a simple mistake on your part. No problem there, but you attached it to me with some advice that *I* should try to get my facts straight, and now, you follow up by saying I didn't give you enough context, or the entire quote, or something. Can't really see that that's the problem, sorry.

Posted by: EBD at October 27, 2008 10:48 PM

o'tay EBD this would have been more helpful ..o'tay big boy.
"He did say that he felt that there wasn't enough changes to warrant continuing on," said Leitch. "I guess we have to make a stronger case...."

"Leitch would not rule out going to the B.C. Court of Appeal if the request fails.

Posted by: Jan at October 27, 2008 10:54 PM

Now we have to fight for complete re-count at Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding.
People resigned before election day and votes for them were still counted and this is no different.
If Troy DeSouza does not want to be an MP anymore he might resign after the recount is done and we will have by-election but we should not tolerate such blatant manipulation as took place tonight.

If BC Court of Appeals needs a precedent of stopped re-count to save the face of the judge they can find it in their law books and not create precedent after the fact.
That is an outrage.

Posted by: Karol at October 27, 2008 10:55 PM

I remember a case (2004 or 2006)where an Ontario school was reported to have used official electoral ballots in a classroom exercise in the run up to the election.

The media and Elections Canada swept this incident under the rug. But the use and availability of extra and valid ballots in such a setting has always been puzzling. After all monopoly doesn't need to use real money!

Posted by: Earl the Pearl at October 27, 2008 11:01 PM

I'm with ET on this one. The statute says there are three options: either (1) re-check the arithmetic, (2) re-count all the valid ballots, or (3) re-count all the ballots (including invalids). In this case it would appear that the honourable justice didn't pick one of those options, pace the bureaucratic general information and interpretive guidelines wordsmithing.

Posted by: Vitruvius at October 27, 2008 11:29 PM

I was pleased to hear on the radio today that the Tories are taking this to the BC Supreme court.

I'm gobsmacked that after only 15% of the ballots were recounted, and with a practically non-existent lead of 22 votes, the recount was stopped and considered a closed matter.

Forget the letter of the Elections Act law. This runs contrary to basic common sense. I'm not willing to throw out the corruption allegation without proof. But, at best, this smacks of incompetence of the highest order. Somebody should be severely reprimanded for this, whether it be the judge himself, or the Elections Canada official who accepted the recount results.

This isn't rocket science. This isn't a matter of partisanship. Just recount each bloody vote, and may the candidate with the most win. End of story.

Posted by: CJ at October 27, 2008 11:50 PM

What, did I miss another announcement? Is it Impaired Reading Comprehension/Gratuitous Pissy Ad Hominem Attack Day?

What's with the "Yeah, so what if I was wrong, it was your fault anyway" goo-goo-baby school-yard nyaah-nyaah fest, Jan? What kind of talk is that? I've seen some weird and inappropriate postings here from time to time, but you've created a whole new category for bar-lowering on intelligent commentary.

Could you try to focus on saying only what is relevant and potentially useful to the dialogue without being all icky about it? You'll feel better about yourself if you refrain from indulging these unworthy and ill-tempered impulses, honestly you will. If you're having a bad day, the polite thing to do is to keep your pissy mood to yourself.

Posted by: exetax at October 28, 2008 12:31 AM

I find a partial recount completely illogical. This should be making headlines in newspapers across the country. If this stops here then we are no better than many other third world dictatorships.

Posted by: peterj at October 28, 2008 12:35 AM

I've taken the time to read the relevant portions of the Election Act on the Elections Canada website. I will chime in and agree with others -- there does not appear to be any power granted to the judge to only recount a sample of the ballots.

This appears to be a clear mistake in law (I'll let others argue what the motivation might have been), and should be recognized as such by the BC Supreme Court. Given this scenario, the Tories are duty-bound to place the matter before the BC Supereme Court under the "Failure of Judge to Conduct Recount" provisions of the Elections Act.

Posted by: CJ at October 28, 2008 1:04 AM

Interesting though that Young's own lawyer accepts that the judge has the discretion to sample. If anyone was in a position to question the judge on this basic point - whether all or some could be re-counted - you would think the lawyer hired by the Conservatives would be pressing that point. Leitch is quoted here:

Conservative party official Ray Leitch said in an interview Monday that Elections Canada recounted the votes from 28 of 184 ballot boxes.

"A lawyer for the party will appear before a B.C. Supreme Court judge Thursday requesting that the judicial recount check every ballot box. "The judge has the prerogative to decide how many ballot boxes he's going to look at, and he decided after the 28 that he felt it was enough and there wasn't a trend there," said Leitch. "We thought that there was a trend coming down and that it possibly could change if we continued doing the count." The party is still deciding whether to continue up the judicial chain to the Appeal Court if the Supreme Court judge denies the continuation of the recount. "We're looking at that option right now. It depends on the reason he gives," he said."

So either we still don't have all of the information, or there is some other statutory authority, or both the judge and the Conservative Party are incompetent. I give equal weight to all three possibilities.

Posted by: Ted at October 28, 2008 10:42 AM

One thing that I still do not get about Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca recount last night is this:
At the end of the count Martin was leading by 70 votes over DeSouza, there were 67 disputed ballots for judge’s consideration but according to Election Canada there were also 129 rejected ballots.
Nobody mentions what happened to them. Were they also examined and counted??
The reason I ask is because ballots are rejected when they are questioned by scrutineers on Election Day in a process that was basically repeated at the court yesterday.
Common sense tells me that all disputed ballots (rejected during election and questioned during re-count) should be examined by the judge. Rejected ballots as far as I know could not be just put back into ballot box for re-count (re-examination) so their number would not decrease at the end of the re-count, so we can be assured that this 67 disputed ballots were in addition to 129 rejected ballots for the total 196 ballots. 196 “undetermined” ballots is much greater number than 70 votes that Martin was leading over DeSouza. It seems that we will never know for sure who actually won in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding in 2008.

Posted by: Karol at October 28, 2008 12:03 PM

Recount going on today in Kitchener-Waterloo. Reporters are being told the vote counting could go on into the weekend.

Strange isn't it, how Vancouver South's recount could be determined in one day?

Posted by: Joanne (T.B.) at October 29, 2008 3:21 PM