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Agyemang, EF, Nortey, ENN, Minkah, R and Asah-Asante, K (2023)

Baseline comparative analysis and review of election forensics: Application to Ghana’s 2012 and 2020 presidential elections

Heliyon 9 p. e18276.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e18276

Abstract: Many allegations have been levelled against the electoral process of many countries across the world by most opposition leaders, especially when they lose a presidential election e.g. Ghana in 2012 and 2020. Therefore, the need to apply election forensic techniques to the certified election results data of valid votes count to statistically verify if some suspected or possible anomalies and irregularities exist in the voting pattern. This paper seeks to provide a comprehensive review of election forensics techniques and make a comparative analysis of Benford's Second-order test of conformity (using the first two digits) and Hartigans' dip test of unimodality to examine the existence of possible anomalies and irregularities in the 2012 and 2020 presidential elections held in Ghana. The findings of the two tests suggest that the electoral process produced possible anomalous data in the 2012 presidential election results (with an overall 16.67% suspected anomalies), whilst possible non-anomalous data was produced in the 2020 presidential election results (with an overall 0% suspected anomaly) of valid votes count. Therefore, the study recommends that for better statistical data analysis on election anomaly detection, Benford's test of conformity and Hartigans' dip test of unimodality should serve as baseline tests (initial screening tools), highlighting areas that may require further investigation or more rigorous analysis and progressively dig deeper into the application of finite mixture fraud models and machine learning techniques. In spite of the promising results Benford's Law, dip test, machine learning algorithms, and network analysis have produced in detecting irregularities in election data, real-world applications remain challenging, particularly when dealing with complex and evolving forms of fraud. Therefore, there is the need for continuous research and innovation to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of these methods and promote transparency and accountability in democratic societies.

@article{, author = { Edmund F. Agyemang and Ezekiel N.N. Nortey and Richard Minkah and Kwame Asah-Asante}, title = {Baseline comparative analysis and review of election forensics: Application to Ghana's 2012 and 2020 presidential elections}, journal = {Heliyon}, volume = {9}, pages = {e18276}, doi = {10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e18276}, }

Reference Type: Journal Article

Subject Area(s): Voting Fraud