Given the stakes in the outcome of the American presidential elections, ensuring the integrity of the electoral process is of the utmost importance. Are the results we are witnessing in the 2016 primary elections trustworthy? While Donald Trump enjoyed a clear and early edge over his Republican rivals, the Democratic contest between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernard Sanders has been far more competitive. At present, Secretary Clinton enjoys an apparent advantage over Sanders. Is this claimed advantage legitimate? We contend that it is not, and suggest an explanation for the advantage: States that are at risk for election fraud in 2016 systematically and overwhelmingly favor Secretary Clinton. We provide converging evidence for this claim.
First, we show that it is possible to detect irregularities in the 2016 Democratic Primaries by comparing the states that have hard paper evidence of all the placed votes to states that do not have this hard paper evidence. Second, we compare the final results in 2016 to the discrepant exit polls. Furthermore, we show that no such irregularities occurred in the 2008 competitive election cycle involving Secretary Clinton against President Obama. As such, we find that in states wherein voting fraud has the highest potential to occur, systematic efforts may have taken place to provide Secretary Clinton with an exaggerated margin of support.
Different outcomes in primary states with paper trails and without paper trails Data procurement: Given the potential that the underlying voting number has been corrupted, we had to restrict our analysis to a proxy: the percentage of delegates won by Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. To group states according to the accountability of the vote, we used Ballotpedia and created two groups. First, there are 18 states that feature voting procedures wherein the accuracy of electoral results of a primary ballot vote are backed by a paper trail. Second, there are 13 states that do not have such a paper trail.
Analysis: The [data] show a statistically significant difference between the groups. States without paper trails yielded higher support for Secretary Clinton, (M no paper trail = 65.13%, SD = no paper trail = 10.41%) than states with paper trails (M paper trail = 48.53%, SD = paper trail = 16.00%), t(29) = 3.21, P = 0.003, d = 1.19 [Figure 1]. As such, the potential for election fraud in voting procedures is strongly related to enhanced electoral outcomes for Secretary Clinton. In the Appendix, we show that this relationship holds even above and beyond alternative explanations, including the prevailing political ideology and the changes in support over time.
Supplemental analysis on caucus states: Does the pattern seen in ballot states occur in caucus states? By the very nature of caucusing procedures, caucus results are generally thought to be more trustworthy. However, in the current Democratic caucusing cycle, Iowa and Nevada had caucuses widely alleged to have involved a considerable level of voter suppression and potential fraud. We examined the [data] and found that these two states had far higher support for Secretary Clinton, [M fraud allegations = 54.71%, SD = fraud allegation = 3.44%] than the other caucus states, [M no fraud allegations = 31.61%, SD = no fraud allegations = 9.98%], t independentmeans (11) = 3.13, P = 0.009, d = 3.10.