In the popular imagination, election fraud usually takes a few forms: stuffed or disappearing ballot boxes, hijacked electronic voting machines, voter intimidation. The latter of those four tactics is somewhat harder to detect. After all, it’s not the ballot being tampered with, but rather the voter who cast that ballot. Fortunately, researchers have now figured out a way to detect “voter rigging,” as the authors of a new paper call it. Unfortunately, their method has turned up more or less exactly what you’d expect—fraud in Russia several times over the past decade, as well as in Venezuela, where voter rigging likely swayed the outcome of the 2013 race to replace Hugo Chavez. “Many elections around the world end in controversies related to alleged frauds; even in mature democracies, such as the U.S. and Canada, where voter suppression scandals have made the headlines,” write Raúl Jiménez, Manuel Hidalgo, and Peter Klimek.
Of potentially greater concern: detecting fraud in countries that have the trappings of democracy while maintaining at least some degree of authoritarian rule.
Of potentially greater concern to the researchers: detecting fraud in countries that have the trappings of democracy while maintaining at least some degree of authoritarian rule. “For example, there are viral videos filmed during Zimbabwe elections that show electors that were forced to vote or allegedly bused under intimidation,” the researchers write.
The question, then, is how to detect that kind of thing without the benefit of videos and other direct evidence? “Our key hypothesis is that small polling stations are more susceptible to voter rigging, because it is easier to identify opposing individuals, there are less eye witnesses, and supposedly less visits from election observers,” Jiménez, Hidalgo, and Klimek write.
Full Article: Was the 2013 Venezuelan Election Rigged? — Pacific Standard.