Why do Biden’s votes not follow Benford’s Law?

From Standup Mathematician.

My book is cheap at Waterstones and signed at Maths Gear:

Check out Steve Mould’s Numberphile video about Benford’s Law.

Buy a signed copy of "How Many Socks Make a Pair?" by Rob Eastaway.

There’s more on Mark Nigrini’s work here:

"Benford’s Law and the Detection of Election Fraud" 2011 paper.

And for balance, here is a paper critical of that other paper (but only in the use of a ‘second digit’ check and they do not dispute the main Benford’s Law claims.). https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e667/b8ad9f58992828ff820ddc8a005de754c5f5.pdf
And here is a paper by the same author specifically about the 2020 US election results:

Get your Chicago Board of Election Commissioners data here!

Yep, 2069 precincts. Some would say that’s too many.

If you must, here are links to people using Benford’s Law to suggest the Biden votes were fraudulent. Please do no harass or brigade anyone.

– Hello loyal viewer. If you are reading this you most likely regularly watch my videos and know that I put corrections here. But the comment section on this video has been, to put it lightly, "wild". I don’t think anyone is checking the corrections here! So I’m going to break with tradition and put the corrections in a pinned comment. But in short:
– I should have said I used the Chicago data (instead of a swing state, let’s say) because that is what people claiming election fraud were using. I didn’t pick it myself to make a point.
– Foolishly I cut a bit of the video where I talk about how Trump’s data is also a bad Benford fit but that massive spike of 1s makes it look like a good match. Check out how low 3, 4 and 5 are.
– There has been specific criticism of aspects of that paper I read from, but only the usual back-and-forth of academics. Everyone agrees with the idea that Benford is not a magic tool to detect election fraud (nor is any statistical tool really; they all require careful interpretation).
– As always, let me know if you spot any other mistakes.

Thanks to my Patreon supporters who mean I can spend TWO DAYS trawling through election stats and making plots. I’m meant to be writing a new book you know. So, thanks a lot.


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MATT PARKER: Stand-up Mathematician
Website: http://standupmaths.com/
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