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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Something to watch as election results come in

The early results in a particular race aren't likely to be the final results. While they may first be reported as 53/47, they could end up 51/49 or 56/44. Some margins will increase in favor of one candidate, and some will increase in favor of the other candidate. These should happen in roughly equal levels.

If one candidate is repeatedly losing ground as time goes on, that could mean one of two things. First, the early precincts reporting are in one part of the state, and so the early results are not a representative sample of the ultimate statewide results. This could be a problem, as it opens up questions as to why a particular candidate's stronghold is delaying results. The other explanation is fraud.

It's also possible for the results to be purely the results of chance. But consider how often you expect to see 60% heads on the repeated flip of a fair coin.

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