Monday, August 15, 2016

BC's 2013 elxn on new boundaries #bcpoli

For those interested, I've done a manual transposition of British Columbia's 2013 general election onto the new boundaries finalized by the provincial commission. You can read their reports here as well as view the new boundaries, but I've provided some maps below as well.

Click for full size

You can also look at the transposition in full on my Google Drive.

I did this over a month or so by hand (or computer, whatever), though it isn't as complicated as you might think. I used the boundary files provided by the boundaries commission, the voting area maps and vote tabulations of the 2013 election provided by Elections BC, as well as some general visual use of's BC section. There were 48 districts that needed to have their vote totals modified, though there are more out there that had small bits of boundaries changed, just without affecting actual population count, ie. moving a boundary in the middle of a forest or around a different part of a bay.

Note that I did have to take some liberties and shortcuts to get a workable result without wild speculation on my part. For example, if a voting area (aka poll) crossed a new boundary, I went by the rule that whichever side had higher count of visible residences would receive the entire area's vote totals. While I could have split them apart and divided them up per household, that would have required a lot of guesstimating on my part that, frankly, I wasn't going to commit time to, especially when it likely wouldn't affect the final result by any more than a handful of votes. It's also speculation to say which half voted which way, maybe one half all went NDP while the other Liberal, or both are even, or everyone who voted Green lived on one street - so on and so forth. Decisions like that simplified my task without creating invalid results, often because it would balance itself out anyway.

For advanced polls, special ballots, and so on, I split those votes up by whatever percentage of the vote was moved over into the new riding by the new boundaries, per party, before those advanced and special ballots were counted. So for example, if 85% of BCL voters in Riding A went into Riding B, then 85% of the advanced voters that voted Liberal from Riding A would go to Riding B, while the other 15% went wherever else. Same thing happened to 75% of NDP voters going from A to B, 67% of Green voters, etc. This allowed for the partisan strengths to be reflected when transposing results, so for example when Surrey South takes away the big chunk of Liberal-friendly voters that resided in the southern portion of Surrey-Panorama, their advanced voters went with them, which reflects how voters in the district actually voted. Therefore, Surrey-Panorama became a lot more NDP friendly as those BCL communities, and their advanced voters, left.

The only time I did not do the above with advanced polls was when it was clear that one advanced poll location was so far out of the way relative to communities within the riding that the likelihood of those people voting there was minimal, i.e. the voters of Hope likely didn't vote in the advanced poll locations in Chilliwack, so when Hope was redistributed into the redrawn Fraser-Nicola riding, their advance poll location went with them in whole. I won't say that it's perfect, however as with above, it should be far more reflective of the actual results.

Finally, there are about 3,000 missing voters from the calculations. Taken from the 48 ridings I modified, then we're looking at about 60 votes per riding - which I find acceptable. It's unavoidable that doing this manually in what is probably a far more imprecise manner (relatively speaking) than how professionals at Elections BC might do it, I'm going to lose some folk, basically through the multiple divisions of advanced and special ballot votes I had to do. No riding is 60 voters close, and even the few close ridings where it could matter I don't believe it will make a difference in - every party lost some votes, almost in equal proportions. I'm not too worried about it, but if you are then I apologize.

Anyways I promised a map, so here you are:


  1. thanks for doing this - it was on my too do list

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