The results are in and Russia has re-elected Vladimir Putin, winning 54% of the vote – and statisticians have supported a belief that the Russian elections are fraudulent.
A recent paper by three statisticians argues that, if election results were being manipulated, you would see a higher-than-natural instance of ballot counts in factors of 5 and 10, as humans naturally gravitate towards these rounder numbers.
This was the case in recent Russian elections. The mathematicians studied seven elections and found that the number of Russians registered at polling stations where Putin won was a multiple of ten far more often than if left to chance. The Economist posits that this means that the “ballots were being stuffed in a particularly lazy and noticeable way”.
PPE and HSPS applicants should consider the history of fraud in Russian elections, and how much ballot stuffing matters when many Russians do not turnout anyway; the most recent elections saw a record low of a 47.8% turnout.