Do Shifts in Late-Counted Votes Signal Fraud? Evidence From Bolivia

57 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020 Last revised: 22 Feb 2022

See all articles by Nicolás Idrobo

Nicolás Idrobo

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students

Dorothy Kronick

University of Pennsylvania

Francisco Rodríguez

Oil for Venezuela

Date Written: January 28, 2022

Abstract

Shifts in late-counted votes often spark unfounded claims of electoral fraud. These claims exploit the early-count mirage: the expedient illusion that, absent fraud, an early advantage will persist. We characterize the early-count mirage and evaluate associated fraud claims in four disputed elections, focusing on the case of Bolivia in 2019. When late-counted votes delivered a narrow victory for the incumbent, fraud accusations followed—with dramatic political consequences. But we find that the vote-share trend can be explained without invoking fraud, and that the allegedly suspicious shift in late-counted votes was actually an artifact of methodological and coding errors on the part of electoral observers. We document similar patterns in the other three cases. The details are context-specific, but the core insights are general: time trends from legitimate vote-counting processes are far more varied—and errors in influential analysis far more frequent—than election skeptics allege.

Suggested Citation

Idrobo, Nicolás and Kronick, Dorothy and Rodríguez, Francisco, Do Shifts in Late-Counted Votes Signal Fraud? Evidence From Bolivia (January 28, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621475 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3621475

Nicolás Idrobo

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/idrobo/home

Dorothy Kronick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Francisco Rodríguez

Oil for Venezuela ( email )

962 Riverside Drive
South Bend, IN 46616
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.oilforvenezuela.org

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