Election Forensics and the 2004 Venezuelan Presidential Recall Referendum as a Case Study
A referendum to recall President Hugo Chávez was held in Venezuela in August of 2004. In the referendum, voters were to vote YES if they wished to recall the President and NO if they wanted him to continue in office. The official results were 59% NO and 41% YES. Even though the election was monitored by various international groups including the Organization of American States and the Carter Center (both of which declared that the referendum had been conducted in a free and transparent manner), the outcome of the election was questioned by other groups both inside and outside of Venezuela. The collection of manuscripts that comprise this issue of Statistical Science discusses the general topic of election forensics but also focuses on different statistical approaches to explore, post-election, whether irregularities in the voting, vote transmission or vote counting processes could be detected in the 2004 presidential recall referendum. In this introduction to the Venezuela issue, we discuss the more recent literature on postelection auditing, describe the institutional context for the 2004 Venezuelan referendum, and briefly introduce each of the five contributions.
This article is from Statistical Science 26 (2011): 471, doi: 10.1214/11-STS379. Posted with permission.