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Elections Canada Site to Report Real-Time Results

[Ottawa, CANADA] Using some new innovative features that Elections Canada has incorporated into its new Web site, users will be able to analyze the results of the Monday federal general election as soon as the last polling stations close.

Elections Canada is the non-partisan agency responsible for the conduct of federal elections and referendums.

"We wanted to give everyone the means to obtain the election results that interest them most, as quickly as possible," said the chief electoral officer of Canada, Jean-Pierre Kingsley.

"Our new Web site allows you to see a pre-programmed results window or to customize your own results window."

Users can create a customized window by indicating which results they want to follow live. It is only necessary to go to the heading for the general election on the Elections Canada Web site. Then the window can be tailored to show results for individual electoral districts or overall results, by registered party, for a large city, a province or territory, or the entire country.

The customized window is saved at the Web site; then on the evening of the election, it is only necessary to retrieve it to find the results of interest.

The customized results window will be displayed as soon as the last polling stations close on the West Coast, at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time on election day. Preliminary results from each polling station will be added as the returning officers send them to Elections Canada in Ottawa.

This is the first time in Canada -- and possibly in the world -- that such a service has been offered.

Those who want to receive results by e-mail can also request this service at the Elections Canada Web site.

Canada spans four time zones; and it is illegal to transmit election results before the last poll closes on the West Coast. Elections Canada's new service will post those results the quickest that is legally possible.

But the service will almost certainly have some competition.

It is quite likely that some broadcasters such as CNN South of the border will cover results as they come in. And certainly some private political junkies will have their Web servers and e-mailing lists in full gear.

Whether early access to information affects election results or merely spoils the surprise, it's an inescapable fact of the interconnected world.