June 21, 2009

It’s official: More votes than voters in 50 Iran cities

Posted in Elections, Iran presidential election, paper ballots, politics, voting tagged , , , at 8:59 pm by bluebanshee

Shocking admission of election fraud from Iran’s Guardian Council:  in at least 50 cities more votes were recorded in the reported tally than there where eligible voters. They estimate that at least 3 million of the 40 million plus votes cast in Iran’s recent presidential election are impacted by this finding.  The Guardian Council published its conclusions  on the Iranian government website:  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=98711&sectionid=351020101

The council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei — a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.

“Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said.

This announcement from the Guardian Council provides an estimate of the minimum number of votes that were totally bogus, not the maximum amount of fraud.  This is because turnout is rarely at 100 per cent even in mandatory voting countries like Australia — some portion of voters always fail to show at the polls due to illness, accident or out-of-town travel.

If overall turnout was indeed 80-85 percent in Iran as was reported initially, then there is another 15-20 per cent that would need to be added to the votes that were above the number of eligible voters in a jurisdiction. The actual over vote would be a combination of the reported vote count above 100 per cent of eligible voters plus the difference between the actual vote and 100 per cent.  So if, for instance, the actual turnout in a particular city was 80 per cent and the overvote was 20 per cent, the actual difference in the vote count would be 40 per cent.  The reported margin between the two top vote getters (Ahmadinejad and Mousavi) is about 39 per cent.

With this kind of calculation it is possible to see how the reported election results would likely be overturned.  A thorough audit, recount or even revote would be necessary to determine the correct winner.

Other indicatons of vote manipulation and/or ballot box stuffing come from British researchers who did a separate analysis of the Iran election results and found that  in the conservative provinces of Mazandaran and Yazd  the reported vote count exceeded 100 per cent — something which is almost impossible.  Researchers from the University of St Andrews and Chatham House, the London think-tank,  analyzed the election. Key findings are summarized below. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6550345.ece

• Four more provinces recorded turnouts close to 100 per cent.

• To achieve the official results in 10 of the 30 provinces, the ultra-conservative President must have carried all the new voters who did not cast ballots in 2005, all the votes that went to his centrist rival Ali Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani and up to 44 per cent of the votes that went to reformist candidates.

• Those provinces include ones dominated by ethnic minorities who seldom if ever vote conservative. “The numbers from Ilam, Lorestan and Hormozgan almost defy belief,” said Thomas Rintoul, one of the researchers.

• Lorestan is home to Medhi Karoubi, the most liberal of the four candidates, who won 440,247 votes (55 per cent) there in 2005. Official figures suggest he won only 44,036 (4.6 per cent) this time.

• “The analysis shows that the scale of the swing to Ahmadinejad would have had to have been extraordinary to achieve the stated result,” said Ali Ansari, Professor of Iranian Studies at St Andrews.

• The figures also challenge the notion that Mr Ahmadinejad’s victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent conservative majority and that he was particularly popular in rural areas.

The equivalent to Mehdi Karoubi losing his home province would be John Kerry failing to carry his home state of Massachusetts in 2004 —  — just not credible.  The other candidates Mousavi and Rezaei also were reported to have lost their home provinces — both highly improbable occurrences, given their “favorite son” status.

The spokesperson from the Guardian Council was quick to assure the public that the reported errors would not  overturn the election results (something election officials everywhere always murmur in a soothing  tones, in my experience:  yes, we found errors  — but move along — nothing to see because it won’t change anything).

Given the potential magnitude of the fraudulent vote count, it is entirely likely that the results might indeed be changed with an honest count.  This may not be possible, given the reported burning of ballot boxes by the Revolutionary Guard in some places and the sketchy chain of custody of the rest of the ballot boxes.

A revote might be the best solution but the Iranian political establishment is confronting an unprecedented situation and it is not clear how the powers-that-be in Iran will navigate these uncharted waters.

Note:  The full PDF of the Chatham House study is available here: http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/files/14234_iranelection0609.pdf


1 Comment »

  1. […] insight/detail available on the Voting Matters Blog Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Revolution within the RevolutionQ & A: […]

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