Comparative Election Fraud Detection

26 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 21 Aug 2009

See all articles by Walter R. Mebane

Walter R. Mebane

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Kirill Kalinin

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Elections in Russia are widely believed to be fraudulent in various ways, a claim some support especially by looking at voter turnout, others by looking at vote counts' digits. We use polling station level data from the Russian Duma elections of 2003 and 2007 and presidential elections of 2004 and 2008 to examine how several methods for diagnosing election fraud complement one another. The methods include estimating the distribution of turnout, measuring the relationship between turnout and party support and testing for vote counts' second digits following the distribution implied by Benford's Law. Anomalies the methods detect are worse by the end of the period under study than at the beginning. The digit test detects anomalies beyond those suggested by a simple idea that turnout in many places was fraudulently inflated.

Keywords: election forensics,Russia,election fraud

Suggested Citation

Mebane, Walter R. and Kalinin, Kirill, Comparative Election Fraud Detection (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450078

Walter R. Mebane (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Kirill Kalinin

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

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