This is fascinating – the sequence of digits in provincial vote tallies may be a signal of vote tampering in Iran.
Why would fraudulent numbers look any different? The reason is that
humans are bad at making up numbers. Cognitive psychologists have found
that study participants in lab experiments asked to write sequences of
random digits will tend to select some digits more frequently than
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.
There’s more – click thru to the Washington Post for details. I’m loving this analysis by political scientists (yay!) Bernd Beber and Alexandra Scacco.