Data Plots Reveal Election Fraud: Landslides in High-Turnout Areas Suggest Ballot Stuffing

By Ehrenberg, Rachel | Science News, February 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Data Plots Reveal Election Fraud: Landslides in High-Turnout Areas Suggest Ballot Stuffing


Ehrenberg, Rachel, Science News


Election fraud comes in many flavors, but there's a new taste test for one sort of trickery. Scientists analyzing data from recent international contests, including the questionable 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia, have proposed a new mathematical measure to discern fraudulent elections from fair ones.

The researchers examined voter turnout and votes received by the winning party for recent parliamentary elections in Russia, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom and for presidential elections in Uganda and the United States. Graphing the relationship between turnout and votes for the winner revealed unusual peaks in the data for the elections in Russia and Uganda--a signature of funny business, the scientists contend.

Ballot stuffing best explains the data, says study coauthor Peter Klimek, a complex systems scientist at the Medical University of Vienna.

"Of course, this is a statistical detection technique, not conclusive proof," says Klimek, who, along with Stefan Thurner and other colleagues, report the analysis online January 15 at arXiv.org. But the numbers need explaining, "and nothing explains them as cleanly as the fraud hypothesis," Klimek says. …

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