Civics: Anomalies in Vote Counts and Their Effects on Election 2020

Vote Pattern Analysis:

In the early hours of November 4th, 2020, Democratic candidate Joe Biden received several major “vote spikes” that substantially — and decisively — improved his electoral position in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Much skepticism and uncertainty surrounds these “vote spikes.” Critics point to suspicious vote counting practices, extreme differences between the two major candidates’ vote counts, and the timing of the vote updates, among other factors, to cast doubt on the legitimacy of some of these spikes. While data analysis cannot on its own demonstrate fraud or systemic issues, it can point us to statistically anomalous cases that invite further scrutiny. 

This is one such case: Our analysis finds that a few key vote updates in competitive states were unusually large in size and had an unusually high Biden-to-Trump ratio. We demonstrate the results differ enough from expected results to be cause for concern.

With this report, we rely only on publicly available data from the New York Times to identify and analyze statistical anomalies in key states. Looking at 8,954 individual vote updates (differences in vote totals for each candidate between successive changes to the running vote totals, colloquially also referred to as “dumps” or “batches”), we discover a remarkably consistent mathematical property: there is a clear inverse relationship between difference in candidates’ vote counts and and the ratio of the vote counts. (In other words, it’s not surprising to see vote updates with large margins, and it’s not surprising to see vote updates with very large ratios of support between the candidates, but it is surprising to see vote updates which are both).