Breaking Down an Unfounded Election Fraud argument
How to make sense of a bogus election fraud claim that fails under common sense and statistical scrutiny.
Douglas Frank has toured the country alleging every county’s election results are marred by vote manipulation.
Frank’s claim is that election results are determined at the state-level, with an unnamed nefarious group stuffing ballots according to a state-level “key”. The key, according to Frank, determines turnout rates for registered voters grouped by age, 18 to 100, for all voters in the state. And this key-determined turnout rate is combined with information about registered voters in a county to determine the reported number of votes from each age group in each county.
Frank claims that because he can accurately predict turnout in every county in America, he has uncovered this manipulation. Specifically, in his presentations he shows that the correlation between his predicted turnout numbers—formed using the state-level turnout rate key multiplied by the number of registered voters of each age in a county— and actual turnout numbers is close to 1, the maximum possible value.
Frank’s claims fail for (at least) three reasons:
- Even if Frank could make accurate predictions, predictability does not imply manipulation
- Frank’s alleged conspiracy implies the county-level turnout rate for each age group in the state should be the same. It isn’t.
- Frank’s supposedly unnatural correlation is an artifact of correlating predicted and actual turnout counts. If he focused on predicting turnout rates, he would have found a lower correlation.
Predictability Doesn’t Imply Manipulation
Even if Frank could accurately predict turnout counts there is no reason to believe that predictability equals manipulation. After all, if the weather channel accurately forecasts the path of a hurricane, we would not conclude that a meteorologist is controlling the weather. While Frank regularly claims human behavior isn’t predictable, this also simply is not true. Given these basic logical failings, it isn’t surprising that Frank never shows that his test actually works—that it can correctly separate elections with manipulation from elections without manipulation.
There is a LOT of Variation in Age Group Turnout Rates in a State
If Douglas Frank were correct, every age group in a county would turnout at the same rate. But this is definitely not the case.