election results canada
October 30, 2000 8:55 PM   Subscribe

election results canada will provide real-time results of the Canadian 2000 general election on Nov. 27th from across the nation, as the polls report their results. In B.C., where I live, the eastern polls close at 5p.m. our time, but results are blacked out on t.v. until 8p.m. "The Canada Elections Act has certain provisions, which attempt to make the transmission of factual information to the public a crime, imposing a hefty penalty on those who do not obey it. This election gag law will harm numerous responsible, law-abiding Canadians. It is unconstitutional, and must be challenged on that basis. The citizens of Canada deserve timely access to public information. This site will provide it to them." Is there such a site for the U.S. election?
posted by riley370 (3 comments total)
Our First Amendment to the Constitution prevents the government from passing any law preventing the release of election results. So anyone with results is free to release them immediately. And that is what happens. When actual vote count totals come in, they go on the wires immediately.

But the totals aren't really the problem here. It's the exit polls, so called because the news agencies have people stand outside polls all over the country, asking flat-out who they voted for. These polls allow the news media to make projections for many races, including the presidential race, by about 1 pm Eastern on Election Day. And that's a good 5 or 6 hours before even the earliest poll close on the East Coast, so say nothing of the other three time zones.

So you can see the supposed "problem" here. If they report who's won hours and hours before the polls close, some people may, allegedly, not bother to vote at all. So a while back - I want to say 1980, may have been 1984 - the media entered into a gentleman's agreement not to publicize the projected results of any state or local races until that state's polls closed, and not to call the presidency until ALL polls nationwide were closed. I personally think this sucks, and that if people are so wussy that they won't go vote even for local races after presidential and Congressional projections come in, then the hell with them. But, like I said, it's a gentlemen's agreement, not the law, and you can't force private companies to put out information they don't want to put out.

However, as I pointed out above, the projections themselves are usually available by very early afternoon for many races. So it's only a matter of leaking them. And in the age of the Internet, they get leaked. Drudge says he'll have at least the presidential projections up on his site, and as many more as he can get as they come out. I'm sure other places will have them as well.
posted by aaron at 10:30 PM on October 30, 2000

Here in Canada, most of the people vote in the eastern time zone. Many times I have voted, come home, and turned on the t.v. only to find that I needn't have bothered as once again the whole thing was decided three to five hours ago anyway, and we in the west and the coast have little representation, influence or effect. Maybe knowing the way it's going, we could have a chance to vote on a winning side and for once get a turn at the gravy.
posted by riley370 at 10:57 PM on October 30, 2000

Here, the Representation of the People Act ensures that you can't even discuss elections on broadcast media (beyond saying "the polls are open") until the polls close. But we have the advantage of just the one time zone.

You have to wonder about the impact of leaked exit polls in the US this time round, given that Oregon and Washington are likely to be critical states for the Gore campaign. In fact, it's possibly going to be in the interest of one of the main contenders to do the leaking.
posted by holgate at 3:21 AM on October 31, 2000

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