Category Archives: elections

Countering statistics, Turkish pro-government newspaper responds with anti-semitism and conspiracies

Last week my work on irregularities in Turkish elections (see here, here, and here) appeared in the pro-government newspaper Takvim (here). In contrast to previous mentions in the Turkish media, this article does not focus as much on the analysis as on the context.

You see, it would appear that all my work is part of a big plan led by the “banker lobby”, a rather shady group including such celebrities as the “Jewish Baron” Murdoch (“İngiltere’nin Yahudi medya Baronu Murdoch”) and the Wallenbergs, one of the more influential business families in Sweden. The author, Bekir Hazar, especially notes the decision of Knut Agathon Wallenberg to donate money for founding the Stockholm School of Economics in 1903, where I work today.

So it’s not that Turkey’s most recent elections may have featured unprecedented levels of vote rigging in major cities like Ankara and Istanbul. No, instead, there are bankers who wish to destabilize New Turkey using any instrument they can get their hands on, which I guess in this case would be me. Continue reading

Capital Fraud in Turkey? Evidence from Citizen Initiatives

The troubles and irregularities in Ankara’s mayoral election keep piling up.

A recent article in McClathyDC has many interesting points. It notes that around a quarter of all ballot boxes arrived at counting centers without an official stamp from the election board:

The unstamped ballot box tallies alone raise serious questions about the outcome. The summaries represented more than 713,000 votes – nearly a quarter of the 3.3 million votes cast, the CHP said. Incumbent Mayor Melih Gokcek, a stalwart in Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, defeated CHP candidate Mansur Yavas by about 31,000 votes.

The case of the missing stamps are not isolated events:

Tally sheets that lacked the official stamp were a major irregularity. Other means were more subtle. An example was the redistricting decided by the AKP-ruled Parliament in a late-night vote in 2012, which moved conservative rural municipalities into CHP-leaning districts in the city of Ankara for the mayoral election. The CHP also charged there had been at least 53,000 duplicate registrations; that out of 124,000 votes that were voided, 100,000 had no reason stated; and some 450 tally forms had their contents incorrectly entered in the official database. The total the CHP says it lost is at least 120,000 votes, possibly double that.

As the counting went into the night of March 30-31, top government officials are reported to have descended on the counting center in one of the most crucial districts, Yenimahalle, and staying in one instance for hours.

Continue reading

Trouble in Turkey’s Elections

(Note: This post may be updated)

My previous post documented a peculiar relationship between the share of invalid ballots and higher voting share of the ruling AKP government in last week’s local elections in Turkey. In both Ankara and Istanbul, this relationship was robust to across-district, even across-voting-station, differences. Thus even within a single voting station, like a primary school etc, invalid ballots appear to drive up the vote share for the AKP. Moreover, the relationship appeared to particularly bias votes toward the AKP in areas that tend to have more support for the opposition.

By now, that post has received considerable attention (see here, here, here and here), raising the question of whether these elections included non-trivial degrees of voting fraud. I’ve from the start been deliberately careful in not labeling this as fraud, partly due to the preliminary nature of the analysis, and partly because statistical anomalies remain so only until they receive adequate explanations.

As additional data has come in, thru the CHP-STS data collection system, and thanks to Twitter user @erenyanik for sending the data my way early on, I’ve had some time to replicate this analysis for additional cities. Continue reading

Is Something Rotten In Ankara’s Mayoral Election? A Very Preliminary Statistical Analysis

Note 1: This post may get updated as additional information on Ankara’s election comes in.

Note 2: This post has now been updated with data from Istanbul – see here)

Note 3: Added two graphs showing party-specific relationships between vote shares and invalid ballot shares. Hat tip for doing these kinds of graphs comes from Twitter user @merenbey.

Note 4: Added heterogenous results showing CHP being penalized by higher invalid shares of ballots much more in above-median pro-CHP districts than in below-median pro-CHP districts.

Having seen tweets on numerous alleged voting irregularities in Turkey and thanks to Twitter user @erenyanik I came across this CHP/STS dataset of voting data in the Greater Municipality of Ankara, one of the tightly contested (less than a percentage point in the vote share) mayor elections between Melih Gökçek and Mansur Yavaş. The dataset includes 12,230 ballot boxes across 1,682 voting locations in 25 districts in Ankara. I didn’t collect the data itself and therefore this analysis should be taken as highly preliminary. Continue reading