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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iran: Fraudulent Numbers

There's an interesting article in the Washington Post today exploring one line of reasoning suggesting that the Iranian election is fraudulent. Basically, it comes down to this: the results aren't random enough. In a fair election, you'd expect that each digit, from 0 to 9, would be the final digit the results in each region roughly ten percent of the time: you'd see a vote count like 12,437 just as often as 12,435. But in fact certain digits come up more often:

The numbers look suspicious. We find too many 7s and not enough 5s in the last digit. We expect each digit (0, 1, 2, and so on) to appear at the end of 10 percent of the vote counts. But in Iran's provincial results, the digit 7 appears 17 percent of the time, and only 4 percent of the results end in the number 5. Two such departures from the average -- a spike of 17 percent or more in one digit and a drop to 4 percent or less in another -- are extremely unlikely. Fewer than four in a hundred non-fraudulent elections would produce such numbers.

link: Nice analysis of why the Iranian election is probably fraudulent : Cognitive Daily


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