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How to find out if an election has been stolen

9 December 2016 - 11:12

By Antony Mukiri

Anyone can download data from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission website, follow an online tutorial and conduct their own fraud tests to see whether the data corresponds with what is expected.

The University of Michigan has developed a free online toolkit where users can subject data from election commissions to tests in order to reveal fraud.

Election forensic analysis uses statistical techniques to expose anomalies in the distribution of votes for various candidates. In manipulated polls, the elections data tend to be irregular and distributed unevenly.

If a poll consistently fails multiple tests, it is concluded that the data was manipulated.

No one statistic can prove fraud, but when an election fails several forensic tests and the results differ significantly from what you expect in a fair process, fraud cannot be ruled out, the scholars conclude.

The toolkit is part of a study the university carried out on 20 elections around the world. The study clears several electoral systems around the world of wrongdoing, with almost no fraud being detected in the 2014 Brazilian presidential election. The Kenyan presidential election, meanwhile, was found to be more than 53,000 times more likely to be fraudulent than the Brazilian one.

Benford’s Law, a test that checks the order of digits and how they correspond to naturally occurring numbers, also revealed that recent by-elections conducted by IEBC contained anomalies.

Using Benford’s law adds to a growing toolkit statisticians are employing to check fraud. A study by the Institute of Economic Affairs on the senatorial by-election in Kericho and National Assembly by-election in Malindi show that, in both cases, Jubilee Alliance candidates’ results exhibit a lot more statistical discrepancies than opposition candidates’. JAP candidates’ results more readily failed to conform to Benford’s Law as compared to opposition candidates’.

The study shows that the results of Aaron Cheruiyot in Kericho and Philip Charo in Kericho were more likely to have been manipulated as compared to those of the candidates in the opposition.

Benford’s Law was used to prove that Greece faked its economic growth figures to gain entry into the European Union and that the 2009 Iranian elections were manipulated in favour of the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


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