Election Forensics: Quantitative methods for electoral fraud detection

Forensic Sci Int. 2019 Jan;294:e19-e22. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.11.010. Epub 2018 Nov 22.


The last decade has witnessed an explosion on the computational power and a parallel increase of the access to large sets of data - the so called Big Data paradigm - which is enabling to develop brand new quantitative strategies underpinning description, understanding and control of complex scenarios. One interesting area of application concerns fraud detection from online data, and more particularly extracting meaningful information from massive digital fingerprints of electoral activity to detect, a posteriori, evidence of fraudulent behavior. In this short article we discuss a few quantitative methodologies that have emerged in recent years on this respect, which altogether form the nascent interdisciplinary field of election forensics. Aiming to foster discussion and raise awareness on this interdisciplinary area, we hereby enumerate a few of the most relevant approaches and methods.

Keywords: Benford's law; Election forensics; Fraud detection.