Silver: How Do You Rig 11M Votes? Easily

Ayatollah's argument against the possibility of vote fraud doesn't hold water
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2009 1:46 PM CDT
An Iranian woman holds a poster of the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad under a painting of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a rally at the conclusion of the Friday prayers, in Tehran, Iran,...   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Nate Silver has a bone to pick with the ayatollah. In his attempt yesterday to quash claims of voter fraud, Ali Khamenei asserted that President Ahmadinejad had won by 11 million votes. "How can one rig 11 million votes?" he asked. That's faulty logic, cries Silver on In the West, it might prove impossible given all our safeguards, but in Iran, it's actually pretty easy. "It is simply a matter of changing numbers on a spreadsheet."

"Under these conditions, it is essentially no more difficult to steal a thousand votes than one, a million than a thousand, or 11 million than one million," writes Silver. Ahmadinejad's supposed winning percentage of 63% seems to be in a reasonable "sweet spot," neither too high nor too low. "That doesn't mean he stole the election—but it also doesn't mean that he didn't."
(Read more Ali Khamenei stories.)