Saturday, October 31, 2020

US election prediction; new part 1

 I've decided to change how I'm going to lay out and present my prediction. As such I've deleted the old post, and am replacing it with this one. I will lay out what the colours exactly mean in the coming posts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Saskatchewan "results" and notes

As with the BC election, this election is not yet "over", as, mail in ballots have to be counted. Regardless, results so far show the following.

50 - SKP - 63.13% (+0.77%)
11 - NDP - 29.21% (-0.99%)
0 - BUF - 2.88% (+2.81%*)
0 - GRN - 2.37% (+0.54%)
0 - PCS - 2.08% (+0.80%)
0 - OTH - 0.33%

This is a clear win for the Saskatchewan Party. A note that in the last election, a "Western Independence" party ran in the province, and, while they appear unaffiliated with the Buffalo party (in fact, their leader ran for the PC party this time) I've decided to compare the two party's votes as they share a key goal in common)

I've tweeted a spreadsheet of the results so-far. I've also made a thread showing that two ridings should go NDP, and only these two should go NDP. I do strongly recommend following me on twitter; if, you do not like me shoving my opinions down your throat, one thing you can do is simply bookmark my twitter feed instead of following me, and, poke in on that bookmark whenever there are important political events going on. 

Another thing I want to look at, as we have a party that won by a clear majority of ballots cast, is how this election would look under Proportional Representation. 

According to the d'hondt calculator, the results would be as follows:

50 SKP
23 NDP

It is more than plausible that some ridings will flip to the NDP, meaning we 'should' move our target to 48 seats from 50; however, the NDP will also be gaining votes when the mail-in ballots are counted, and as such, would gain seats in our PR calculation anyway. Thus having them here, at 23, helps to offset that. Note that even with a threshold 5%, the 50-23 ratio stays the same, and the only thing that changes is the smaller parties win 0 seats. A threshold of 2% would not impact the results, as, all 3 of these smaller parties passed that mark. 

Regardless, this are the candidates likely to end up elected under such a system. 

Non-NDP (4 seats)
Ken Gray, PC (REGINA WALSH ACRES) [Party leader]
Naomi Hunter, Green (REGINA ELPHINSTONE-CENTRE) [Party leader]
Wade Sira, Buffalo (MARTENSVILLE-WARMAN) [Party leader]
Phil Zajac, Buffalo (ESTEVAN) {top vote earner for party}

NDP (12 seats)
leader (1)
Ryan Meili, (SASKATOON MEEWASIN) [Party leader]

top vote earners 
Regina (3 max)
Bhajan Brar, (REGINA PASQUA)

Outside Regina (4 max)
Melissa Patterson, (MOOSE JAW WAKAMOW)

Rural Areas (4)
Lon Borgerson, (BATOCHE)

You will notice that I've put caps on certain areas, for example, only 3 from Regina. This is because a true PR system would be regional in nature. Instead of calculating all the regions - possible, but, a bit pointless before the mail-in ballots are counted - I've used this crude method to simulate regions by simply putting caps on seats won in, or, outside of select areas. 

This give the NDP representation across the province; as any regional PR system would. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

BC election "results"

 The 'results' of the election are as follows:

You may note, some seats are still listed as too close to call. This is due to the mail in ballots, which have yet to be counted

I'll skip right to the business of the post; these the BCL-over-NDP vote gaps in the 6 closest ridings:

Will flip:
188 - Abbotsford Mission
180 - Vernon Monashee

Very likely to flip:
385 - Fraser Nicola

Might flip:
647 - Vancouver Langara
729 - Surrey White Rock
791 - Kamloops North Thompson

Some quick math. 

There are 575,000 or so ballots to be counted, covering the 87 ridings of BC. Polls suggest the NDP has an advantage in these votes. This is, very roughly, a third of all ballots.

Lets start with ballots already counted in an example riding. If it mirrored the province, and had 1000 voters, it would have 422 votes for the NDP, 351 for BCL, 166 for the Greens, and 61 others.

I want to veer into a tangent, and say, I consider the mail in ballots to be "10% for the NDP". Why is that? Lets look at what a riding of 667 counted voters; we get 281 NDP voters, 244 BCL, and 111 Green. Now lets add 333 mail in ballots: 183 NDP, 94 BCL, and 52 Green. Totals are 163 Green votes, 338 BCL, and 464 NDP; alongside 35 others. Now we jump into where this tangent comes into play using more math. 

We are going to mostly ignore the Green and "Other" numbers, as, no Green riding has the NDP within striking distance; and thus, it is only the Liberals that the NDP can take seats from. 

As such, lets assume instead of 351 or 338 votes in the ridings in question, the Liberals have taken exactly 1,000 votes, and, scale the NDP vote up to match it. This gives us 1202 NDP votes, and, 1373 NDP votes respectively. This is a gain of 1.14 for the NDP, comparing the combined Mail-In + Counted result (1373) VS the only-as-counted results (1202), a gain of 14%. 

I've simply decided to round that to 10%. So, lets see this in action with our earlier tangential example. The counted votes stay the same, 281 NDP, 244 BCL, and 111 Green. However, we now reduce the mail-in ballots by 10% (from 333 to 300), and, assume the mail-in ballots match the counted ballots. [after all, this entire mathematical process is to help us guess what the mail in ballots will say! So we must use the counted ballots as a base.] The results are as follows; 127 NDP, 103 BCL, 50 Green, and 20 others. The combined result is 408 NDP, 347 BCL, 161 Green.

Lastly, we add 100% of the earlier excluded votes in, as NDP votes. 33 of them. Thus the NDP goes from 408 to 441. 

The final province-wide popular vote would be 44.1% for the NDP vs 34.7% for the Liberals. Given the polls, this is generous to the Liberals. 

So, how does all that mathematical gobbledygook apply to the 575,000 mail in ballots?

Simple. Take 10% of these ballots (57,500) and divide them by the 87 ridings (661) and you end up with about 500 votes (more than that, 661 actually, and that 661 is already generous to the Liberals, but I'm trying to be super generous here)

And thus, we end up with at least 3, but as many as 6, ridings flipping to the NDP when the results are counted. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

BC election tonight, ridings to watch

 Any riding with the TCTC (too close to call) highlight (yellow) should be worth some attention. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Left wins in Bolivia

 Short post, as, today has been busy for me (spraying for bugs at my apartment) but, simply, the polls in Bolivia were wrong. None of the first round polls suggested Arce, the winning candidate, had 50%+1 of the vote on the first round, and, every second round poll either had a Mesa victory (some by a wide margin), or, Arce winning by under 2 points. While counting continues, exit polls have Arce winning 53% of the vote to Mesa's 31% on the first round. 

Current results, with about 2 million votes counted out of a possible 7 million (at 100% turnout) show Arce at 40.4% with Mesa at 38.4%. Mesa has conceded defeat, and President Anez has congratulated Arce on his victory. Evo Morales will reportedly return to Bolivia some time in the near future as a result. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

New Zealand election results

 First; to note that in the Australian Capital Territory, Labor seems set to return to government. The Greens, however, are the biggest winners, going from 2 to at least 5 seats. Regardless, the Greens plan to continue to support the Labor government, amd Labor is sitting on 10 seats to 8 for the Liberals with 2 seats yet to be counted/finalized. 

New Zealand still has some ballots to count, in particular, the roughly 16% of so of ballots cast as 'special ballots'. However, of the ballots counted so far, the results are as follows:

64 - Lab - 49.1%
35 - Nat - 26.8%
10 - ACT - 8.0%
10 - Grn - 7.6%
0 - NZF - 2.7%
1 - Mao - 1.0%

As such, New Zealand First, receives 0 seats.

Labour's win is the first Majority won under MMP-PR in New Zealand. Their 49.1% of the vote is also the largest share of the vote won by any party since 1951, before the advent of strong 3rd parties. No party since the advent of the party system in New Zealand has done this well when more than one other party has taken more than 1% of the vote. The next closest result is way back in 1908, when party lines were much more informal, where the "3rd party" took 3.1%

Their win in the electorates however, is less unprecedented. Labour itself took 45 electorate seats in 2002, whereas they look set to wni only 43 this election. National was reduced to 26 electorate seats, but, itself took only 21 back in 2002. Even if you compare pre-PR results (which you should not do) you find that Arden only won 60% of electorates, while election in 1990 (two elections before the switch) saw the winner take a nice 69% of the seats. 

The result, however, is still quite impressive. While I am 100% certain it has happened before, and will again, the only PR Majority I can personally recall off the top of my head happened in 1968 in Sweden; and, not to toot my own horn, but I have quite a few elections filed in my brain to pull data from. These kind of wins are rare, and, while I'm certain it will happen again, at some point in time, in New Zealand, chances are I may have died of old age by then. 

Unlike this historic victory, National's loss is not as historic as some may think. In 2002 they took only 20.9% of the vote, and had been reduced to 27 seats in Parliament; vs 52 for Labour and 41 for the other parties. The opposition benches, this time, will be mostly National, as they have 35 seats compared to 21 for the other parties. 

New Zealand First, however, did see a historic low. The 2.7% of the vote pushes the party to its lowest ever vote share. Leader Winston Peters, who has lead the party since its founding, may decide to retire from politics. He has, after all, been involved in politics for the past 50 years. ACT, which, though standing for nothing now, once stood for the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, did set a record with 8% of the vote. The highest ever for this party, and second only for a Business-Libertarian party in the country to the 12.3% taken by the proto-ACT party, the New Zealand Party, in 1984.

Regardless, this will go down in history as record setting.

The only problem now is if, now that Labour and only Labour sets the agenda and delivers the results, thus taking 100% of the fault if things go wrong; if such a government can convince people to re-elect them.

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Zealand, more than an Election

My previous post included my thoughts on the New Zealand election. They were as follows:

58 - Lab
40 - Nat
11 - Grn
11 - ACT

However, there's more than just a general election in New Zealand, they are holding two different Referendums. 

First is a referendum on euthanasia. Polls say support is relatively consistent; though, dropping. The most recent poll had the Yes side at 60% and the No side at 33%, the lowest "yes" and highest "no" polled. This margin should be enough to ensure that even if more voters move in the same direction, that the "yes" side will win; but I've seen referendum polling be way off in the past in various places. 

Closer is the second referendum on Cannabis use. This race is much closer. Poll averaging, especially how the graph appears on wikipedia as I post this, indicate just how close it is. Not only is the margin within 1%, but, it keeps wobbling back and forth. To me this suggests the "no" side will win.

While the Cannabis vote's wiki page does list supporters for each side, the Euthanasia page does not, so, I went to find the information myself. From what I can gather, Labour supports it (they proposed a similar one in 2014) as do the Greens, while New Zealand First has reservations, but, seems somewhat supportive. The tiny Conservative Party opposes it, and National seems to be split on the issue, but, leaning slightly in favor. Lastly, ACT backs it, as, it is their bill after all. 

More interesting is the split on the Cannabis issue. The Conservatives, of course, oppose it. The Greens support it. Other parties seem to have more neutral stances. Helen Clark, former Labour PM backs it, while John Key, former National PM opposes it. Polling suggests a 2:1 split in favor in Labour, and a 3:1 opposition split in the National Party. New Zealand First seems to oppose it by a 2:1 margin, while ACT opposes it by a 3:2 margin. 

Even if it passes, the Cannabis referendum would require additional legislation to implement, and, Parliament could simply not put forward the legislation. Conversely, it could still make and pass a bill legalizing Cannabis. 

The Euthanasia legislation is in a more interesting position. The bill itself has already passed into law via royal assent, but, it only comes into force a year after being confirmed to have won the referendum.

Speaking of which, the date of confirmation is something I want to address.

It is the 17th of October in New Zealand already. Election day. Results will come in and ballots will start to be counted and results released starting at 7pm local; this is 2am in Toronto. 

However. Mail in ballots will still take time to arrive and be counted. As such, the 'final' results on 'election day' will continue to change over the days that pass. Additionally, it is not until the 30th that the first preliminary results of the Referendum will be counted and announced. It is only on November 6th, 3 week from now, that the final results will be announced and confirmed, with the writs being returned on the 12th. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Upcoming elections (updates, etc)

 Lets start by noting that an election almost slipped by me, on the 17th, in the Australian Capital Territory. Sunrise on the 16th in the area is about an hour or so away from the time this will post. As such, by this time on Saturday, we'll have some results.

There's only been one poll and it suggests the Liberals are up, but not by enough to win government. However, that one poll was from September. Labor has traditionally had strength in the area, with previous Liberal wins coming when "other" parties (IE, not Labor, Liberal, or Green) win seats; and polls suggest "other" parties are polling down, not up, from the previous election.

New Zealand votes on the same day. My current thinking is as follows:

58 - Lab
40 - Nat
11 - Grn
11 - ACT

Bolivia votes the following day. 

Mesa remains ahead in the polls. 

Lastly, Germany is not expected to vote any time soon, but, my thoughts are as follows:

Germany (with change from previous election) [assuming 709 seats total after all overhang seats are applied] 

271 - CDU +25
148 - GRN +81
118 - SPD -35
75 - AfD -19
55 - LNK -14
42 - FDP -38

Friday, October 9, 2020

Quick Commentary: The USA and "Democracy"

 So as many of you likely know, Mike Lee, GOP Senator from Utah, has argued that the USA is "not a democracy"

Naturally, a lot of Democrats are arguing with him. The basis of their argument seems to be the following:

"Mike Lee does not support democracy. He thus supports fascism. He opposes democracy and voting"

This, is not true. This kind of talk - the stuff Mike Lee is saying - is related to the kind of talk and debate around the US Constitution at the time of its writing in the 1780s. In fact, then-future-president James Madison argued this exact point in Federalist #10. A section of said paper:

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. 

The argument isn't that "Democracy is bad and Dictatorship is good" but rather "Democracy can lead to the Dictatorship of the majority, which is bad." 

Imagine if you will a referendum where the question is "Should we ban registered Democrats from voting" and imagine if you will that 50%+1 of the voter base says yes. 

In a "Democracy", this is fine-and-dandy. In a "Republic" however, this is a no-no.

Or, so goes the argument.

I am not saying Lee made his argument well - he did not and looks rather foolish - only that he is not arguing he wants to take away your rights, and pretending he is, is simply dishonest. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

More on Kyrgyzstan

 Supposedly, the President of Kyrgyzstan, is stepping aside. The new Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov seems to be from the Patriotic party, which took 136,276 votes according to official results, short of the 137,125 needed for seats. Given the reaction in the country, it is quite likely that these numbers are simply false. 

I do not know much about the electoral history in the country, but, the last two elections had about 1.6M ballots cast with about 2.7M people registered to vote. This election had 2.0M ballots cast with 3.5M people registered the vote. This could simply be natural population growth, or, it could be a sign of the fraud. If so it would imply about 400,000 or more fraudulent ballots; however, there also may have been incorrect counting, as, as I outlined, there are many ways to steal an election, and a little bit of each method can help someone wishing to steal an election more than a lot of just one of the methods can. 

From what I can gather, the two parties that won the most seats, still support the President. From what I can gather, nearly all of the parties that failed to win seats are allied on a council to oversee the nation during this period. Joining them is the one "opposition party" that won seats, United Kyrgyzstan. The other three parties that won seats seem better in line with the President. From As such, the "Unity" and "My Homeland Kyrgyzstan" and "Kyrgyzstan" parties seem to be the most pro-president, while the parties "Homeland Security" and the Veterans Party, are two parties I've yet to determine. All the other parties seem united and back the protests. 

I will monitor this situation, but, felt an update was warranted. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

How to steal en election

 Given recent troubles in Kyrgyzstan, I thought it might be time for a post I've long planned; how to steal an election! In this post I will examine the possible steps chronologically. 

Lock People Up

The earliest step you can take is to find all of your opponents and simply throw them in jail. In fact, this step is so early, it's usually not even thought of as stealing an election, but instead, simply running a tyrannical dictatorship. In a 4 year cycle, you could lock people up in year 1, or 2, and nobody would be the wiser that you are doing so to steal the election; in large part, because if somebody does realize this, you simply lock them up too. China and the USSR are the two most famous countries in the past 5 decades who did this. 

Invented Scandals

The mild version of the above is to invent scandals on your opponents, and send the police to charge them. You don't need to go so far as to lock them up, so long as you can smear them badly enough that they become unelectable. China and Russia both have taken to doing this in the past two decades. 

Access Gaps

Even milder than the above; if you can control the media, you can control access to public messaging. You don't need to lock up, or smear, the opposition if the opposition can not get its message out. Most people will think of Russia or Venezuela when they think of this, but in reality, every country struggles with this to some degree, as it's simple human nature to self censor what is perceived as unpopular. 

Blocked Candidacy

This is done at the earliest part of the actual election, where you block the candidate from running for some real or fictional reason. Iran is most famous for doing this, but other countries such as Thailand have used this before as well. I even spoke about Belarus doing this not that long ago. 

System Bias

This is perhaps the most insidious option of them all, as, it is used to this date in modern first world democracies. Examples of this include Gerrymandering in places like North Carolina, and intentionally setting vote thresholds to (try to) exclude specific parties as is done in Israel and Turkey. Japan itself used a heavily biased system until 1993. Many former Soviet countries will often change the election system, in large part, to ensure that whatever system in use is the one that best favors the ease of re-election of the incumbent government. 

Vote Buying

This includes other methods of manipulating the vote such as implied threats. This happens on election day itself, at the time the voter casts their ballot. In the past two decades, this has mostly been associated with developing countries such as Zimbabwe and Burundi. Note that this includes voter suppression, tactics which have, some say, been tried right here in Canada. Often times, this is the "earliest" one will think when thinking of "stealing an election"

Biased Ballots

This can take many forms, from purposefully designing confusing ballots, to forcing voters to reveal their choice by making them request a special ballot, or by making the ballot design give away how the voter votes. Fascist Italy forced the voter to fold their ballot differently for a "no" vote, and in North Korea where the "no" ballots must be placed in a separate box. 

Fraudulent Counting

The final step, and, perhaps the archetypical model for "stealing an election" is to simply not count the actual ballots, and, instead, make up a result. Belarus did this recently, but perhaps the most famous case is the Liberian election of 1927. In that election, the incumbent and winner took about 243,000 of the roughly 15,000 available voters. And no that's not a mistake on my part, the winner took over 16 times the available number of votes. 

As you can see, there are many ways to steal an election, some simply being more obvious than others. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Super simple announcement.

 Earlier today I came across the idea that Trump's Covid diagnosis was a conspiracy, as, he does not "really" have the virus, and is "pretending" to for electoral gain. I saw a lot of people on the left seriously suggesting this was the case. 

This has massively and seriously changed the way I view politics.

The impact of this will take time as it will require a lot of thinking and reflecting. 

That is all. Thank you. 

Update - 02OCT2020

 Updates for today!

I've been posting my thoughts on BC to my twitter. The NDP is looking set for a Majority. 

General reminder that the Green Party of Canada picks a new leader on the 3rd. 

New Zealand votes on the 17th. My current thoughts are as follows: 60 LAB // 38 NAT // 14 GRN // 8 ACT // 0 NZF // 0 OTH

Not much to update this week, but, Bermuda did have an election. From what I can quickly gather, two parties, PLP and OBA, split between a more libertarian vs statist view. PLP for example has economically left-wing views, but also socially right-wing views, and could be thought, as such, to be "anti-libertarian", while the OBA has views perhaps more friendly towards libertarianism without being outright libertarian. A new party, FDM, that is more christian democrat in nature, contested this election as well. They did poorly, taking 5% of the vote, and, under 28% in their best seat.  OBA reains it's status as the official opposition, winning 6 seats on 32% of the vote (down from 12 seats on 41% last time), while PLP has been re-elected on 30 seats at 62% of the vote (up from 24 seats on 57% last time).