# The Afghan elections were rigged

That’s what I conclude in a piece I’ve written for Mint which got published today.

I analyze the last digit of the vote tally of different contestants in different provinces, and find an unusually large number of numbers that end in zero – the odds of this happening at random are at most 2.25%, I conclude.

You might be aware that I’ve been doing this series on elections for Mint for over a year now. Since the Indian elections are over, and steam is yet to pick up for state elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand I’m dabbling a bit in analysis of international elections. If there’s something potentially interesting that you want me to analyze, do drop a note here.

## 4 thoughts on “The Afghan elections were rigged”

1. Sid Banerjee says:

Does Afghan constituency sizes have a large range of values? If so, shouldn’t we expect more zeros (a la Benford’s law)?

1. skimpy says:

benford’s law is to do with the first digit, and nothing to do wtih the last. I don’t see why even if it has a large range of values (it doesn’t) 0 should be more probable!

2. Sid Banerjee says:

Ah ok – big endian/little endian 😀 – serves me right for not reading this carefully enough.

One more doubt then – my take on the plot is that the bump at 5 is not too significant, so this is mainly re. the bump at 0. Now if I understand, this is data for each constituency/participant? If so, could it be that some participants were super unpopular, and got zero votes in many constituencies, which biases the distribution? Do the results hold up when you set a minimum threshold (say 10), and drop all numbers below it? Alternately, why not just compare the winner and the second place?

1. skimpy says:

Immediately after I sent in my piece, I realized that I hadn’t accounted for zeros! And quickly checked. No, there are no candidates who have received less than 10 votes in a province. So taken care of that particular thing!

We can compare just first and second but that leads to much fewer data points and all that!