media release

Kessler to receive Sterling Prize for robo-call research

October 10, 2013
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Contact:
Anke Kessler, Department of Economics, 778.782.3443, akessler@sfu.ca
Scott Mclean, PAMR, 778.782.5151, srmclean@sfu.ca

Anke Kessler, a professor in Simon Fraser University’s Department of Economics, will receive the 2013 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy on Oct. 15, for her research into the robo-call allegations during the 2011 Canadian federal election.

Immediately following the ceremony at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Kessler will present a lecture entitled Does Misinformation Demobilize the Electorate? Measuring the Impact of “Robocalls” on the 2011 Canadian Federal Election.

Kessler’s 2012 discussion paper found that robo-calling, if the phenomenon did occur, could have significantly influenced voter turnout and ballot results in the last federal election.

“It’s an honour to receive the prize, particularly for some rather serious research that was being directed at contemporary policy, and quite a pressing issue at the time,” said Kessler, who regularly studies political institutions, government structure and elections.

“I hope that [receiving the award] renews public interest into the matter of voter demobilization, my concern being that we will see these kinds of voter suppression strategies increasingly in the future, both legal and illegal. My hope is that political commentators and the public will stay vigilant, and that legislative steps will be taken to address potential abuse, and restore Canadians' level of confidence in an electoral process that is fair and free from deceptive practices."

The Sterling Prize was first awarded in 1993, and remains committed to recognizing work that provokes and contributes to the understanding of controversy, while presenting new ways of looking at the world and challenging complacency. The Prize recognizes work across disciplines and departments, and is awarded annually by the Sterling Prize committee.

The 2013 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy presentation and lecture takes place on Oct. 15, at 7pm. The events are free to attend but require registration.

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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