[SSRN] Do shifts in late-counted votes signal fraud? Evidence from Bolivia


Nicolás Idrobo

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

Dorothy Kronick

University of Pennsylvania

Francisco Rodríguez

Tulane University

Date Written: June 7, 2020


Surprising trends in late-counted votes can spark conflict. In Bolivia, electoral observers recently sounded alarms about trends in late-counted votes—with dramatic political consequences. We revisit the quantitative evidence, finding that (a) an apparent jump in the incumbent’s vote share was actually an artifact of the analysts’ error; (b) analysis of within-precinct varation mistakenly ignored a strong secular trend; and (c) nearly identical patterns appear in data from the previous election, which was not contested. In short, we examine the patterns that the observers deemed “inexplicable,” finding that we can explain them without invoking fraud.



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