Evaluating Dr. Shiva’s Claims of Election Fraud in Michigan

This article examines Dr. SHIVA Ayyadurai’s claims that the shape of some graphs generated from Michigan voting data suggests that the vote count was being fraudulently manipulated. To be clear, I am not making any claim about whether or not fraud occurred — I’m only addressing whether Dr. Shiva’s arguments about curve shape are convincing.

I’ll start by elaborating on some tweets I wrote (1, 2, 3) in response to Dr. Shiva’s first video (twitter, youtube) and I’ll respond to his second video (twitter, youtube) toward the end. Dr. Shiva makes various claims about what graphs should look like under normal circumstances and asserts that deviations are a signal that fraud has occurred. I use a little math to model reasonable voter behavior in order to determine what should be considered normal, and I find Dr. Shiva’s idea of normal to be either wrong or too limited. The data he considers to be so anomalous could easily be a consequence of normal voter behavior — there is no need to talk about fractional votes or vote stealing to explain it.

Here is a sample ballot for Michigan. Voters have the option to fill in a single box to vote for a particular party for all offices, referred to as a straight-party vote. Alternatively, they can fill in a box for one candidate for each office, known as an individual-candidate vote. In his first video, Dr. Shiva compares the percentage of straight-party votes won by the Republicans to the percentage of individual-candidate votes won by Trump and claims to observe patterns that imply some votes for Trump were transferred to Biden in a systematic way by an algorithm controlling the vote-counting machine.

Let’s start with some definitions:

x = proportion of straight-party votes going to the Republican party for a precinct
i = proportion of individual-candidate presidential votes going to Trump for a precinct
y = ix

I’ll be using proportions (numbers between 0.0 and 1.0) instead of percentages to avoid carrying around a lot of factors of 100 in equations. I assume you can mentally convert from a proportion (e.g., 0.25) to the corresponding percentage (e.g., 25%) as needed. Equations are preceded by a number in brackets (e.g., [10]) to make it easy to reference them. You can click any of the graphs to see a larger version.

Dr. Shiva claims there are clear signs of fraud in three counties: Oakland, Macomb, and Kent. The data for each precinct in Kent County is available here (note that their vote counts for Trump and Biden include both straight-party and individual-candidate votes, so you have to subtract out the straight-party votes when computing i). If we represent each precinct as a dot in a plot of y versus x, we get (my graph doesn’t look as steep as Dr. Shiva’s because his vertical axis is stretched):

Figure 1: y vs x graph for Kent County

Dr. Shiva claims the data should be clustered around a horizontal line (video 1 at 22:08) and provides drawings of what he expects the graph to look like:

Figure 2: What Dr. Shiva expects the y vs x graph to look like for “normal case.” From video 1 at 22:08
Figure 3: What Dr. Shiva expects the y vs x graph to look like if voters like Trump more than the full slate of Republicans. From video 1 at 22:56

He asserts that the downward slope of the data for Kent County implies an algorithm is being used to switch Trump votes to Biden in the vote-counting machine. In precincts where there are more Republicans (large x), the algorithm steals votes more aggressively, causing the downward slope. As a sanity check on this claim, let’s look at things from Biden’s perspective instead of Trump’s. We define a set of variables similar to the ones used above, but put a prime by each variable to indicate that it is with respect to Biden votes instead of Trump votes:

x‘ = proportion of straight-party votes going to the Democrat party for a precinct
i‘ = proportion of individual-candidate presidential votes going to Biden for a precinct
y‘ = i’x’

Here is the graph that results for Kent County:

Figure 4: The y’ vs x’ graph for Kent County (in terms of Biden votes instead of Trump votes).

If the Biden graph looks like the Trump graph just flipped around a bit, that’s not an accident. Requiring proportions of the same whole to add up to 1 and assuming third-party votes are negligible (the total for all third-party single-party votes averages 1.5% with a max of 4.3% and for individual-candidate votes the average is 3.3% with a max of 8.6%, so this assumption is a pretty good one that won’t impact the overall shape of the graph significantly) gives:

[1]    x + x’ = 1
[2]    i + i’ = 1

which implies:

[3]    x’ = 1 – x
[4]    y’ = –y

Those equations mean we can find an approximation to the Biden graph by flipping the Trump graph horizontally around a vertical line x = 0.5 and then flipping it vertically around a horizontal line y = 0, like this (the result in the bottom right corner is almost identical to the graph computed above with third-party candidates included):

Figure 5: How to generate a y’ vs x’ graph for Biden votes by flipping around the y vs x graph for Trump votes. Click on the image to enlarge.

As a result, if the Trump data is clustered around a straight line, the Biden data must be clustered around a straight line with the same slope but different y-intercept, making it appear shifted vertically.

The Biden graph slopes downward, so by Dr. Shiva’s reasoning an algorithm must be switching votes from Biden to Trump, and it does so more aggressively in precincts where there are a lot of Democrats (large x’). Wait, is Biden stealing from Trump, or is Trump stealing from Biden? We’ll come back to this question shortly.

Dr. Shiva shows Oakland County first in his video. I made a point of showing you Kent County first so you could see it without being biased by what you saw for Oakland County. This is Dr. Shiva’s graph of Trump votes for Oakland:

Figure 6: y vs x graph for Oakland. From video 1 at 31:14

The data looks like it could be clustered around a horizontal line for x < 20%. Dr. Shiva argues that the algorithm kicks in and starts switching votes from Trump to Biden only for precincts having x > 20%.

We can look at it (approximately) in terms of Biden votes by flipping the Trump graph twice using the procedure outlined in Figure 5:

Figure 7: y’ vs x’ graph for Oakland obtained by flipping around the y vs x graph.

The data in the Biden graph appears to be clustered around a horizontal line for x’ > 80%, which is expected since it corresponds to x < 20% in the Trump graph. If you buy the argument that the data should follow a horizontal line when it is unmolested by the cheating algorithm, this pair of graphs finally answers the question of who is stealing votes from whom. Since the y-values for x > 20% are less than the y-values in the x < 20% (“normal”) region, Trump is being harmed in the cheating region. Consistent with that, Biden’s y’-value for x’ > 80% (the “normal” region) is about -5% and y’ is larger in the x’ < 80 region where the cheating occurs, so Biden benefits from the cheating. Trump is the one losing votes and Biden is the one gaining them, if you buy the argument about the “normal” state being a horizontal line.

Dr. Shiva draws a kinked line through the data for Kent (video 1 at 36:20) and Macomb (video 1 at 34:39) Counties with a flat part when x is small, similar to his graph for Oakland County, but if you look at the data without the kinked line to bias your eye, you probably wouldn’t think a kink is necessary — a straight line would fit just as well, which leaves open the question of who is taking votes from whom for those two counties.

Based on the idea that the data should be clustered around a horizontal line, Dr. Shiva claims that 69,000 Trump votes were switched to Biden by the algorithm in the three counties (video 1 at 14:00 or this tweet).

All claims of cheating, who is stealing votes from whom, and the specific number of votes stolen, are riding on the assumption that the data has to be clustered around a horizontal line in the graphs if there is no cheating. That critical assumption deserves the utmost scrutiny, and you’ll see below that it is not at all reasonable.

In Figure 8 below it is impossible for the data point for any precinct to lie in one of the orange regions because that would imply Trump received either more than 100% or less than 0% of the individual-candidate votes. For example, if x = 99%, you cannot have y=10% because that implies Trump received 109% of the individual-candidate votes (i = y + x). Any model that gives impossible y-values for plausible x-values must be at least a little wrong. The only horizontal line that doesn’t encroach on one of the orange region is y = 0.

Figure 8: y vs x graph with forbidden regions (no data point may occur there) shown in orange.

Before we get into models of voter behavior that are somewhat realistic, let’s consider the simplest model possible that might mimic Dr. Shiva’s thinking to some degree. If the individual-candidate voters are all Republicans and Democrats in the exact same proportions as in the pool of single-party voters, and all Republicans vote for Trump while all Democrats vote for Biden, we would expect i = x and therefore y = 0 (i.e., the data would cluster around a horizontal line with y = 0). Suppose 10% of Democrats in the individual-candidate pool decide to defect and vote for Trump while all of the Republicans vote for Trump. That would give i = x + 0.1 * (1 – x). The factor of (1 – x) represents the number of Democrats that are available to defect (there are fewer of them toward the right side of the graph). That gives y = 0.1 – 0.1 * x, which is a downward-sloping line that starts at y = 10% at the left edge of the graph and goes down to y = 0% at the right edge of the graph, thus never encroaching on the orange region in Figure 8. Dr. Shiva also talks about the possibility of Republicans defecting away from Trump (video 1 at 44:43) and shows data clustered around a horizontal line at y = -10%. Again applying the simplest possible thinking, if 10% of Republicans defected away from Trump we would have i = 0.9 * x, so y = -0.1 * x. Data would again cluster around a downward-sloping line. This time it would start at y = 0% at the left edge and go down to y = -10% at the right edge. The only possible horizontal line is y = 0. Everything else wants to slope downward.

The model described in the previous paragraph is really too simple to describe reality in most situations. There are no Independent voters in that model, and it assumes the individual-candidate voting pool has the same percentage of Republicans as the straight-party pool. In reality, individual-candidate voters shouldn’t be expected to be just like straight-party voters — they choose to vote that way for a reason. Below I lay out some simple models for how different types of voters might reasonably be expected to behave. The focus is on determining how things depend on x so we can compute the shape of the y versus x curve. After describing different types of individual-candidate voters, I explain how to combine the different types into a single model to generate the curve around which the data is expected to cluster. If the model accommodates the data that is observed, there is no need to talk about cheating or how it would impact the graphs — you cannot prove cheating (though it may still be occurring) if the graph is consistent with normal voter behavior. In the following, the equations relating x to i or y apply to the curves around which the data clusters, not the position of any individual precinct.

Type 1 (masochists): Imagine the individual-candidate voters are actually Republicans voting for Trump or Democrats voting for Biden, but they choose not to use the straight-party voting option for some reason. Perhaps a Republican intended to vote for the Republican candidate for every office, but didn’t notice the straight-party option, or perhaps he/she is a masochist who enjoys filling in lots of little boxes unnecessarily (I’ll call all Type 1 people masochists even though it really only applies to a subset of them because I can’t think of a better name). Maybe a Republican votes for the Republican candidate for every office except dog catcher because his/her best friend is the Democratic candidate for that office (can Republicans and Democrats still be friends?). With this model, the number of individual-candidate voters that vote for Trump is expected to be proportional to the number of Republicans. We don’t know how many Republicans there are in total, but we can assume the number is proportional to x, giving A * x individual-candidate votes for Trump where A is a constant (independent of x). Similarly, Biden would get A’ * (1 – x) individual-candidate votes. If all individual-candidate voters are of this type, we would have:
[5]    i = A * x / [A * x + A’ * (1-x)]
If the same proportion of Democrats are masochists as Republicans, A = A’, we have i = x, so y = ix gives y = 0, meaning the data will be clustered around the horizontal line y = 0, which is consistent with the view Dr. Shiva espouses in his first video. This model does not, however, support data being clustered around a horizontal line with the y-value being different from zero. If A is different from A’, the data will be clustered around a curve as shown in Figure 9 below.

Figure 9: y vs x graph if all individual-candidate voters are of Type 1. Curves for three different sets of parameter values are shown. Data points would cluster around the curve.

Type 2 (Independents): Imagine the individual-candidate voters are true Independent voters. Perhaps they aren’t fond of either party, so they vote for the presidential candidate they like the most (or hate the least) and vote for the opposite party for any congressional positions to keep either party from having too much power, necessitating an individual-candidate vote instead of a straight-party vote. Maybe they vote for each candidate individually based on their merits and the candidates they like don’t happen to be in the same party. How should the proportion of Independents voting for Trump depend on x? Roughly speaking, it shouldn’t. The value of x tells what proportion of a voter’s neighbors are casting a straight-party vote for the Republicans compared to the Democrats. The Independent voter makes his/her own decision about who to vote for. The behavior of his/her neighbors should have little impact (perhaps they experience a little peer pressure or influence from political yard signs). Democrats are expected to mostly vote for Biden regardless of who their neighbors are voting for. Republicans are expected to mostly vote for Trump regardless of who their neighbors are voting for. Likewise, Independents are not expected to be significantly influenced by x. If all individual-candidate voters are of this type, we have i = b, where b is a constant (no x dependence), so y = bx, meaning the data would be clustered around a straight line with slope -1 as shown in Figure 10 below.

Figure 10: y vs x graph if all individual-candidate voters are of Type 2. Curves (lines) for three different parameter values are shown. Data points would cluster around the line.

Type 3 (defectors): In this case we have some percentage of Democrats defecting from their party to vote for Trump. Likewise, some percentage of Republicans defect to vote for Biden. This is mathematically similar to Type 1, except Trump now gets votes in proportion to (1 – x) instead of x, reflecting the fact that his individual-candidate votes increase when there are more Democrats available to defect. If all individual-candidate voters are of this type, we have:
[6]    i = C * (1 – x) / [C * (1 – x) + C’ * x)]
If the same proportion of Democrats defect as Republicans, C = C’, we have i = 1 – x, so y = 1 – 2 * x, causing the data to cluster around a straight line with slope of -2. If C and C’ are different, the data will be clustered around a curve as shown in Figure 11 below.

Figure 11: y vs x graph if all individual-candidate voters are of Type 3. Curves for three different sets of parameter values are shown. Data points would cluster around the curve.

Realistically, the pool of individual-candidate voters should have some amount of all three types of voters described above. To compute i, and therefore y, we need to add up the votes (not percentages) from various types of voters. We’ll need some additional notation:

NSP = total number of straight-party voters (all parties) for the precinct (this is known)
NIC = total number of individual-candidate voters (this is known)
I = number of Independent (Type 2) voters (not known)
v = number of individual-candidate votes for Trump
v’ = number of individual-candidate votes for Biden

The number of individual-candidate votes for Trump would be:
[7]    v = A * x * NSP + b * I + C * (1 – x) * NSP
and the number for Biden would be:
[8]    v’ = A’ * (1 – x) * NSP + (1 – b) * I + C’ * x * NSP
The total number of individual-candidate voters comes from adding those two expressions and regrouping the terms:
[9]    NIC = v + v’ = A’ * NSP + (AA’) * x * NSP + I + C * NSP + (C’C) * x * NSP

The last equation tells us that if we divide the number of individual-candidate votes by the number of straight-party votes for each precinct, NIC / NSP, and graph it as a function of x, we expect the result to cluster around a straight line (assuming I / NSP is independent of x). If the behavior of Republicans and Democrats was exactly the same (A = A’ and C = C’), the straight line would be horizontal. Here is the graph:

Figure 12: NIC / NSP vs x for Kent County. Upward slope implies Republican precincts tend to have more individual-candidate voters — this asymmetry is due to differing Republican vs. Democrat behavior.

The line was fit using a standard regression. The fact that it slopes strongly upward tells us Republicans and Democrats do not behave the same. A larger percentage of Republicans cast individual-candidate votes than Democrats, so Republican-heavy precincts (large x) have a lot more individual-candidate votes. The number of straight-party votes also increases with x, but not as dramatically, suggesting that Republican precincts either tend to have more voters or tend to have higher turnout rates. By requiring our model to match the straight line in the figure above, we can remove two degrees of freedom (corresponding to the line’s slope and intercept) from our set of six unknown parameters (A, A’, b, I/NSP, C, C’).

We compute y = ix = v / NICx. Fitting the y versus x graph can remove two more degrees of freedom. To completely nail down the parameters, we need to make an assumption that will fix two more parameters. Since the slope of the y versus x graph for Kent County lies between 0 (Type 1 voters) and -1 (Type 2 voters), we will probably not do too much damage by assuming there are no Type 3 voters, so C = 0 and C’ = 0. We are now in a position to determine all of the remaining parameters by requiring the model to fit the NIC / NSP versus x data from Figure 12 and the y versus x data, giving:

[10]    A = 0.5, A’ = 0.09, b = 0.073, I / NSP = 0.41, C = 0, C’ = 0

Figure 13: y vs x for Kent County with a curve generated by our model.

The curve generated by the model is not quite a straight line — it shows a little bit of curvature in the graph above. That curvature is in good agreement with the data. If NIC depends on x, as it will when A is different from A’ or when C is different from C’, there will be some curvature to the y versus x graph. In other words, when there are differences between the behavior of Republicans and Democrats this simple model will generate a y versus x graph having curvature. When there is no difference in behavior, it gives a straight line.

The relatively simple model seems to fit the data nicely. The remaining question is whether the parameter values are reasonable. If they are, we can conclude that the observed data is consistent with the way we expect voters to behave, so the graph does not suggest any fraud. If the parameter values are crazy, there may be fraud or our simple model of voter behavior may be inadequate. It will be easier to assess the reasonableness of our parameters if they are proportions (or percentages), which A, A’, C, and C’ aren’t. We would like to know the proportion of Republicans (or Democrats) voting in a particular way. We start by writing out the number of Republicans, R, according to the model as just the sum of straight-party Republican voters plus individual-candidate Republicans voting for Trump (the A term) and defector Republicans voting for Biden (the C’ term). A similar approach determines the number of Democrats.

[11]    R = x * NSP + A * x * NSP + C’ * x * NSP
[12]    D = (1 – x) * NSP + A’ * (1 – x) * NSP + C * (1 – x) * NSP

We now define new parameters:

a = the proportion of Republicans voting for Trump by individual-candidate ballot
a’ = the proportion of Democrats voting for Biden by individual-candidate ballot
c = the proportion of Democrats that defect to vote for Trump
c’ = the proportion of Republicans that defect to vote for Biden

[13]    a = A * x * NSP / R = A / (1 + A + C’)
[14]    a’ = A’ / (1 + A’ + C)
[15]    c = C * (1 – x) * NSP / D = C / (1 + A’ + C)
[16]    c’ = C’ / (1 + A + C’)

In this more convenient (for understanding, but not for writing equations) parameterization we have:

[17]    a = 0.33, a’ = 0.083, b = 0.073, I / NSP = 0.41, c = 0, c’ = 0

In words, 33% of Republicans use an individual-candidate ballot to vote for Trump instead of a straight-party vote. Only 8.3% of Democrats use an individual-candidate ballot to vote for Biden instead of a straight-party vote. Only 7.3% of Independents voted for Trump, with the other 92.7% voting for Biden. The number of Independent voters is, on average, 41% of the total number of straight-party voters, which means Independents are considerably less than 41% of all voters (since some Republicans and Democrats don’t vote straight-party). Some values seem a little extreme, such as only 7.3% of Independents voting for Trump, but none are completely pathological. Parameter values would shift around a bit if we allowed non-zero values for c and c’ (defectors). It is worth noting that when I talk about the number of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, I am not talking about the number of people that registered that way — I base those numbers on their behavior (i.e., the assumption that the number of Republicans is proportional to x). With all of those things in mind, I think it is safe to say that the graphs are consistent with reasonable expectations of voter behavior (no need for fraud to explain the shape), but the parameter values shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

The simple models above show a wide range of possible slopes for the data, going from 0 to -2 (when parameter values generate a straight line). A horizontal line (0 slope) requires there to be no Independent voters and no defectors. Furthermore, it requires the percentage of Republicans and Democrats choosing to use individual-candidate voting to be exactly the same (A = A’). The assumption that data should cluster around a horizontal line is really an extreme assumption that requires things to be perfectly balanced. Claiming that deviation from a horizontal line is a sign of fraud is like observing a coin toss come up heads or tails and proclaiming there must be cheating because a fair coin would have landed on its edge. Dr. Shiva’s videos never show an example of real data clustering around a horizontal line. He does show a graph for Wayne County (video 1 at 38:02) and claims it lacks the algorithmic cheating seen in the other three counties, but all of the data for Wayne County is confined to such a small range of x values that you can’t conclude much of anything about the slope.

Dr. Shiva’s second video starts by talking about signal detection and the importance of distinguishing the “normal state” from an “abnormal state” in various contexts. At 50:08 he states: “What we didn’t share in the first video is what is a normal state?” This would be a good time to scroll up and take a second look at Figure 2, which is a screen shot from the first video. He now claims the normal state would be to have the data in the y versus x graph clustered around a parabola. Horizontal lines are gone. Claims about the number of votes stolen based on expecting the data to follow a horizontal line are forgotten. He provides this graph from another election, Jeff Sessions for Senate in 2008, as his first example of the normal state:

Figure 14: y vs x for Jeff Sessions’ senate election. From video 2 at 51:21

The graph has negative curvature, meaning it is shaped like an upside down bowl. Positive curvature would be shaped like a bowl that is right-side up. He provides two more examples that also have negative curvature. He proclaims that there must be cheating in Oakland, Macomb, and Kent counties, not because they slope downward, but because they are too straight. As before, I’m going to flip the graph twice to see what it would look like in terms of Jeff Sessions’ competitor’s votes:

Figure 15: y’ vs x’ graph obtained by flipping the y vs x graph twice as described in Figure 5.

The flipped graph has positive curvature. If negative curvature is normal, positive curvature must also be normal. A straight line is just zero curvature. If some amount of negative curvature is normal and a similar amount of positive curvature is normal, it would be weird, but not impossible, for curvature values in between to be abnormal (note that this is a very different argument from what I said about the horizontal line y = 0, because that case was at the extreme end of the spectrum of possibilities, not in the middle). Anyway, I already showed a reasonable model of voter behavior accommodates both significant curvature (Figure 9) and straight lines (Figures 10 and 11), and I showed that Kent County has a little bit of curvature (Figure 13).

Dr. Shiva explains his claim that the normal state should be a parabola using this graph:

Figure 16: Three different types of voters implies a parabola? From video 2 at 57:07

He claims there should be three different behaviors, resulting in a parabola, because there are three regions representing different types of voters. I think the labeling of the voters along the bottom of Figure 16 reveals some confused thinking. Why are there Independents in the middle section? Why does the quantity of Independents depend on the percentage of straight-party voters that vote Republican (i.e., the value of x)? Do Independents move out of the neighborhood if the number of Trump signs and Biden signs in the neighborhood are too far out of balance, or is the number of Independents really a separate variable (a third dimension, with Democrats and Republicans being the other two)? In my simple model above, which could certainly be wrong, curvature comes from differences in behavior between Republicans and Democrats (Figure 9), whereas more Independents makes the curve straighter (Figure 10).

Dr. Shiva introduces some new graphs in the second video at 1:02:21 that he claims are additional evidence of problems in the three counties. Instead of working with percentages, he uses the raw number of votes. He graphs the number of individual-candidate votes for Trump, v, versus the number of single-party votes for the Republicans, w. Similarly, he graphs the number of individual-candidate votes for Biden, v’, versus the number of single-party votes for the Democrats, w’. He overlaid them on the same graph, but I’ll separate them for clarity. Here are the results for Kent County:

Figure 17: Number of individual-candidate votes for Trump versus the number of single-party votes for the Republicans in Kent County
Figure 18: Number of individual-candidate votes for Biden versus the number of single-party votes for the Democrats in Kent County

I fit the lines with a standard regression because it is not quite possible to generate predicted curves using our model. Dr. Shiva’s concern is that the two graphs are so different. Specifically, the data in the Trump graph in Figure 17 is very tightly clustered around the straight line, whereas the Biden graph in Figure 18 shows the data to be much more spread out. We’ll return to that point after talking a bit about how the graphs relate to the model we used on the Kent County data earlier.

Expressions for v and v’ for our model were given earlier in Equations [7] and [8]. Noting that w = x * NSP, and w’ = (1 – x) * NSP, we can write v and v’ in terms of w and w’:

[18]    v = A * w + b * I
[19]    v’ = A’ * w’ + (1 – b) * I

The problem with graphing the model’s prediction is that I is a function of x with positive slope (our model treated I / NSP as a constant with value 0.41, but NSP itself depends on x as noted earlier), so we can’t use Equations [18] and [19] to graph the model curve. We can do some basic checks for consistency with our model, however. The Independent voter term contributes very little to v because b is small (Trump only gets 7.3% of the Independent vote in our model). So the slope of the v versus w curve should be a little more than A, which is 0.5, and the line in Figure 17 has a slope of 0.52. The slope of the v’ versus w’ curve should be A’, which is 0.09, plus (1 – b) times whatever I contributes to the slope. The line in Figure 18 has a slope of 0.26, which is larger than 0.09, as required, but it is unclear whether it is too large. The ratio of the y-intercepts for the lines in Figures 18 and 17 should be (1 – b) / b, which is 12.7, compared to 13.8 for the lines fitted to the data in the graphs.

While our model doesn’t say anything quantitative about the spread expected for the data, it can give us some qualitative guidance. The source of most of the individual-candidate votes for Trump is Republicans that choose to vote for individual candidates (masochists) rather than straight party. He gets only 7.3% of the Independent vote. By contrast, Biden gets a lot of his individual-candidate votes from Independents. This is reflected in Biden’s graph having a relatively large y-intercept. He gets around 200 votes even for precincts where there are no Democrats around to vote for him (w’ = 0 implies no straight-party Democrat voters and presumably very few individual-candidate voting Democrats) because he has 92.7% of the Independents.

We expect 33% of Republicans to vote for Trump with an individual-candidate ballot on average. We wouldn’t be surprised if some precincts have 25% or 40% instead of 33%, but we wouldn’t expect something wild like 10% or 80%, so the data points are expected to stay pretty close to the line for Trump. On the other hand, Biden gets a lot of votes from Independents and the number of Independents is expected to vary a lot between precincts. The number of Republicans varies a lot from precinct to precinct (based on x ranging from 10% to 80%), so it is reasonable to expect similar variation in the number of Independents, causing a large spread in Biden’s graph. The differences between Figures 17 and 18 are not surprising in light of the very different nature of the individual-candidate voters for Trump and Biden, which we already knew about due to the slope of Figure 12.

In summary, Dr. Shiva is right when he says it is important to distinguish normal behavior from abnormal behavior when trying to identify manipulated data. Where he comes up short is in determining what normal behavior should look like. If the data is consistent with a reasonable model of human behavior, it is normal and cannot be considered evidence of fraud. In his first video he claims a horizontal line is the only normal state, but in reality a horizontal line other than y = 0 would be highly abnormal. His second video gets closer to reality when claiming the normal state should be a parabola, but that is too limited — data with little or no curvature is perfectly reasonable, too.

20 thoughts on “Evaluating Dr. Shiva’s Claims of Election Fraud in Michigan

  1. J K Weeks

    “there is no need to talk about fractional votes or vote stealing to explain it.”

    Whenever engaging in a mathematical analysis, it is important to analyze the basic assumptions behind the analysis. The first question is can an algorithm be used in the voting software to manipulate vote totals. In national elections, there is no purpose or justification for any fractional votes to be cast or counted. All votes are, by definition, integers.

    Unfortunately the obvious point must be made that some results are showing fractional votes in the 2020 election, similar to the results from the 2004 Alaska election shown at 10:09 in the video by Dr. Shiva. In this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3I23NxY-8o a screen shot of Michigan election results shows fractional votes being presented in the results. That is clear evidence that integer votes are not being counted, and that some sort of weighted algorithm is being used in the vote counting.

    As Dr. Shiva points out in his video, the fact that these voting machines and associated software even allow any weighted or fractional voting system presents a clear method for vote manipulation. A justification for providing such a “feature” in the software can be made using an example like voting in a Homeowner’s Association, where votes might be weighted based upon the square footage owned by each homeowner. This implies that the market for Dominion or other voting machine providers to conduct an HOA vote is a sufficiently lucrative market to justify including an obvious avenue for vote manipulation as a “feature” in their software.

    For those who are concerned with the integrity of democratic voting (i.e. one person, one vote), it is simply unacceptable to include the possibility of fractional voting in voting software.

    Reply
    1. Bill Dimm Post author

      Your point is good (and thank you for actually discussing when a weighted vote might be useful), but I think you are misunderstanding my point in the part of the article you quoted. In Dr. Shiva’s second video around 36:08 he criticizes his critics for assuming that one person equals one vote. Here is the argument: If you assume sensible behavior by voters and no cheating, vote weighting, vote transfer, or any other shenanigans, and you find the shape of the observed data is not unusual, then the shape of the curve CANNOT be evidence of fraud. There might very well be fraud happening, but the curve doesn’t serve as a mechanism for proving it. Dr. Shiva thinks it is evidence because he thinks it has to be a horizontal line (or, later, a parabola) unless there is cheating, but I showed that isn’t true.

      The fact that the voting machine has a feature to weight votes does not mean that feature was used in this election. If fractional votes came out of it, that would be evidence of fraud, but that is completely separate from the discussion of curve shape. The video you linked to looks damning, but I would suggest being cautious about it — did the numbers shown actually come directly from the machine, or did someone fiddle with them (e.g., passing through a spreadsheet to compute percentages or vice-versa) and introduce some sort of rounding error? I mention that because there has been an analysis based on NYTimes data (truncated percentages) where they backed out vote counts from the percentages and got excited that votes seemed to be disappearing when it was just due to percentages rounding up/down. That is discussed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxElBD67u2Y

      Reply
      1. J K Weeks

        The data on fractional voting comes from an affidavit from Russell Ramsland where he states on page 3:
        “Below is an excerpt from Dominion’s direct feed to news outlets showing actual calculated votes with decimals.” The table that follows has headings “trump” “biden” “TV” and “BV.” Under TV and BV, vote counts are shown with up to three figures after the decimal.

        state timestamp eevp trump biden TV BV
        michigan 2020-11-04T06:54 :48Z 64 0.534 0.448 1925865.66 1615707.52
        michigan 2020 -11-04T06:56:47Z 64 0.534 0.44 8 1930247.664 1619383.808
        michigan 2020-11–04T06:58:47Z 64 0.534 0.448 1931413.386 1620361. 792
        michigan 2020-11-04T07:00:37Z 64 0.533 0.45 1941758.975 1639383 .75
        michigan 2020-11-04T07 :01:46Z 64 0.533 0.45 1945297.562 1642371.3
        michigan 2020-11-04T07:03:17Z 65 0.533 0.45 1948885.18 5 1645400.25

        https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.gand.283580/gov.uscourts.gand.283580.7.1_2.pdf

        As this data reportedly comes directly from Dominion (and Mr. Ramsland is subject to perjury charges for misleading statements in his affidavit), vote totals, which clearly should be integers, are being massaged somewhere to produce fractional votes.

        Which brings us to a very important issue. If the Ranked Choice Voting Algorithm is being used to manipulate vote totals, producing decimal votes as an artifact in vote totals, could analysis of voting plots, the subject of your article, detect such vote manipulation in favor of a candidate. If not, what might be a better statistical method to detect voter fraud?

    2. Bill Dimm Post author

      I’m confused by your mention of “Ranked Choice Voting Algorithm” since that seems unrelated to fractional votes. I’m going to assume you meant weighted votes and answer based on that. If I’ve misunderstood, please clarify and I’ll try again.

      If the vote-counting machine was programmed to count each vote for Biden as something like 1.03 votes and each vote for Trump as 0.97 votes (or, alternatively, to weight all votes from a particular precinct that way based on whether they voted heavily for Democrats or Republicans respectively in the past), I don’t see how you could possibly detect that in these graphs. The excess votes would just look like Republicans that defected to vote for Biden. Since some voters would surely do that legitimately (i.e., the “never Trump” Republicans), and you don’t know how many would do it legitimately, there would be no way to differentiate the legitimate votes from the fractional excess votes.

      If you received any very small batches of votes, you might be able to back out the amount of cheating. For example, if Biden got 3.09 votes, you can figure out that he probably has a weight of 1.03 (though it could be a weight of 1.545 or a weight of 3.09). If the number of votes in the batch is bigger, there would be more ambiguity about what the actual weight is. You might imagine that by looking at a bunch of batches you might find that there is only one weight that is consistent for all of them, but a cheater could easily thwart such a calculation by using a random weight (that perhaps averages 1.03).

      The way to get a definitive answer is to count the votes manually and compare to the count from the machine. I believe that was done in Georgia (which uses Dominion machines) and there was no discrepancy, but I haven’t been following it closely so I could be wrong. If you wanted to cheat and all you did was program the vote-counting machines to apply a weight, there would be a big risk of getting caught if there was a recount. You would really need to replace some of the ballots with bogus ones to survive a recount, but if you had the ability to do that I don’t see why you would need to apply a weight in the first place (unless you had the ability to swap out ballots after the counting was over but not while the counting was in progress).

      Reply
      1. J K Weeks

        The forensic analysis of voting machines in Antrim county is now available. https://depernolaw.com/uploads/2/7/0/2/27029178/antrim_michigan_forensics_report_%5B121320%5D_v2_%5Bredacted%5D.pdf The report makes a large number of points, including the following:

        “1. The allowable election error rate established by the Federal Election Commission
        guidelines is of 1 in 250,000 ballots (.0008%). We observed an error rate of
        68.05%. This demonstrated a significant and fatal error in security and election
        integrity.

        2. The tabulation log for the forensic examination of the server for Antrim County
        from December 6, 2020 consists of 15,676 individual events, of which 10,667 or
        68.05% of the events were recorded errors. These errors resulted in overall
        tabulation errors or ballots being sent to adjudication. This high error rates proves
        the Dominion Voting System is flawed and does not meet state or federal
        election laws.

        3. The Election Event Designer Log shows that Dominion ImageCast Precinct
        Cards were programmed with new ballot programming on 10/23/2020 and then
        again after the election on 11/05/2020. These system changes affect how ballots
        are read and tabulated, and our examination demonstrated a significant change
        in voter results using the two different programs. In accordance with the Help
        America Vote Act, this violates the 90-day Safe Harbor Period which prohibits
        changes to election systems, registries, hardware/software updates without
        undergoing re-certification.

        4. A high “error rate” in the election software (in this case 68.05%) reflects an
        algorithm used that will weight one candidate greater than another (for instance,
        weight a specific candidate at a 2/3 to approximately 1/3 ratio). In the logs we
        identified that the RCV or Ranked Choice Voting Algorithm was enabled (see
        image below from the Dominion manual). This allows the user to apply a
        weighted numerical value to candidates and change the overall result. The
        declaration of winners can be done on a basis of points, not votes. [Image 8]: (Page 18 of the report).”

        Based upon this forensic audit, it is quite clear that Michigan’s tabulated vote totals were manipulated so as to not reflect the actual votes counted. On Nov 21 2020 at 13:53:09 a user attempted to zero out election results. This is direct proof of an attempt to tamper
        with evidence.

        So we are left with a very important and unanswered question. If Dr. Shiva’s analysis of election results do not demonstrate election fraud, what reliable, statically valid methods might be used to demonstrate that an honest election has been conducted, or if fraud has lead to dishonest results?

        Is it sufficient to identify that in many precincts in Michigan, the number of votes exceeded the number of registered voters? Is it sufficient to point out that large influxes of votes which exceed the capacity of voting machines are another indicator of fraud? Do we look for ballots that have no folding crease in their image, indicating that they were never folded and placed in envelopes? Or is the attempt by those counting votes to cover windows during counting sufficient prima facie that voting fraud is taking place?

        The burden should be upon the government to prove that an honest election was conducted.

      2. BARRY HENSLEY

        The one size fits all weighted factor doesn’t match the data as presented. All we can see are “results” If you go down to the precinct level it doesn’t work. The weighted factor has to float limited by the Straight Party Vote numbers for each precinct. It is also limited by the total votes which is only limited by registered voters. It is almost imposable to quantify total votes in almost all precincts.

        I’ve tried to look at some of the Michigan election numbers at the county level. It appears to me that the manipulation was consistently applied. Using pen, paper, a calculator and the “certified results” on county clerk and Michigan Secretary of State websites, I’ve noticed a few “don’t look quite right” numbers, could be my ignorance of election counting processes..

        Comparing Kent County Commissioner results for the 5th and 19th districts with the corresponding Presidential/Vice results in those two districts at the precinct level, I noticed that in ALL 31 precincts the Republican Candidate for President received LESS votes than the Republican Candidate for County Commissioner. I also noticed that in ALL 31 precincts the Democratic Candidate for President received MORE votes than the Democratic Candidate for County Commissioner. One district is Republican the other is Democrat. Probably old news but new to me.

        Some of the additions appear to be trivial, but when combined with the adjoining subtraction it becomes a significant vote “swing”. I’ve also noticed that after 2 numbers people stop listening. I am trying to solve a complex advanced calculus algorithm using 3rd grade arithmetic.

        The algorithm may already have a name but if it doesn’t I propose calling it the “boilermaker floating fudge factor”. BFFF. The data is real but too consistent and too symmetrical to be natural, it appears to have been manipulated.

        Semi interesting note: Kent County Democratic Candidate for President 187,915
        Kent County Republican Candidate for Sheriff 187,616

        Very difficult to investigate the numbers, I have yet to find an accurate accounting of total votes in any of the precincts I’ve looked at. Total votes cast is always more than the tabulated fields on the “certified results” spreadsheets. Maybe they cast test votes, and if so they should be accounted as such.

        I compared the 110 Michigan State House Representatives Vote Totals to the Presidential totals for the same areas. There are 83 counties and 110 State House Districts so there isn’t a one to one correlation, some are split. I subtracted the total votes for State Rep in each district from the total votes for President and came up with excess votes for president. Marquette and Kalamazoo County both have a ratio near 1.7%. Ten of the other counties varied between 1.1% and 1.9%. Approximate “excess votes” using this methodology for the whole state is 187,627. The Republican candidate lost by 154,188.

        I’ve heard that everyone votes for the President and that many skip local election races. One of the State House Representative Candidates running unopposed received 28,161 votes, go figure. Somewhere close to 5,350,000 people voted in the Michigan State House races.

        Semi interesting note: Leelanau County President : DEM 8795 REP 7916
        State Hse: Dem 7732 REP 8929

        Double down to the local level, there is a good chance that the national contests have been manipulated for a while. Find the BFFF, I know it exists.

        P.S. Antrim County Total Votes as “certified” was 16,044 according to the website, after the recount it is now 15,962 according to the Detroit Free press. What happened to the 82 votes? Comparing Michigan State House results to Presidential in Antrim the Republican candidate lost 188 votes. The Democrat candidate gained 382 votes for a net loss to the Republican of 570 votes.

        .

  2. Anthony Sasson (@Sassonii)

    What is so difficult about just ADDING UP THE VOTES? Why does this EVER have to enter the realm of decimal values at ALL?

    And, the inverted BIDEN plot does NOT show that TRUMP stole votes. Since it is INVERTED in definition of both the Y and X axis, the question should ALSO be inverted… WHY DID BIDEN GET SO MANY VOTES in REPUBLICAN precincts?

    Reply
    1. Bill Dimm Post author

      Regarding “Why did Biden get so many votes in Republican precincts,” my answer is that many of those votes are from independents and whether the precinct is Republican on Democratic is irrelevant to how they cast their vote (much as a Republican would very likely vote for Trump regardless of whether he/she lived in a Republican precinct or a Democratic one).

      Reply
  3. Tracy

    What kind of a computer programmer uses a floating point or double variable to tabulate votes instead of an integer variable? That type of programming decision is enough evidence to look further into these machines.

    You stated “For those who are concerned with the integrity of democratic voting (i.e. one person, one vote), it is simply unacceptable to include the possibility of fractional voting in voting software.”

    I should conclude that those who do not find this unacceptable (the press, democrats, facebook, twitter, google) are not concerned with the integrity of democratic voting.

    Reply
    1. Bill Dimm Post author

      “You stated ‘For those who are concerned with the integrity of democratic voting (i.e. one person, one vote), it is simply unacceptable to include the possibility of fractional voting in voting software.'”

      Just to clarify, that was stated by someone commenting on the article (J K Weeks), not by the article’s author.

      Reply
  4. Larry Wallace

    Hello Please send me any information on organizations fighting voter fraud one vote one person. I want to fight with you. Thanks

    Reply
  5. bobphds

    The math nitpicking isn’t helpful, productive, nor does it reflect reality since the videos of fraud, statistical voting spikes, USPS mishandling, the size of Biden “rallies” compared to Trump rallies and many other bits of REALITY are not included in the data that clearly shows a very high improbability of a Biden victory. But why should anything convince those content with the coup?

    Reply
    1. Bill Dimm Post author

      If someone claimed there must be fraud because the sky is blue and the sky wouldn’t be blue unless there was fraud, what would you think of that claim? Would the existence of voting spikes, rally size, etc., change your opinion about the blue sky claim? Dr. Shiva made the curve shape a major part of his argument that there was fraud, and it is evidence of fraud in the same sense as the blue sky — the “math nitpicking” shows that the curve would quite reasonably have that shape without any fraud. There might very well be fraud, and there might very well be good evidence of fraud, but the curve shape is not evidence of fraud. It is worth knowing which evidence is real and which isn’t.

      Reply
  6. bobphds

    You actually saw large numbers of Independent voters in Republican Precincts voting for Biden?
    Pretending you are not pro Biden? Not very convincing, mathematically nor politically.

    Reply
    1. Bill Dimm Post author

      Would you expect large percentages of Democrats to vote for Trump if they happen to live in a Republican precinct? Independents vote like Independents. Independents don’t turn into Republicans just because they live in a Republican precinct, much as Democrats don’t turn into Republicans just because they live in a Republican precinct.

      Reply
  7. bobphds

    Evaluating Dr’ Shiva Ayyadurai “claims” in the Michigan election, with so many other topics, why this one?

    Not questioning your motives but having been involved in derivatives places you in very bad company along with your fellow alumni, Dr. A. Fauci.that virtually destroyed the US economy with a virus that is no more dangerous then the common flu.

    Off the math topic, but you selected Dr. Shiva’s analysis to attack that was clearly based on a very specific topic, with a very specific pattern. Voter fraud is evident if a curve is lacking, this is the nature of the field.

    Forget the first question, just one simple and only question…..Trump or Biden?
    Fate places everyone in unexpected circumstances. The question is not a personal one,
    merely an idiosyncrasy into statistical probability that you may ignore.

    All the best

    Reply
    1. Bill Dimm Post author

      I selected Dr. Shiva’s analysis to “attack” because it was so obviously wrong and there were so many people believing it. How is it good for society to leave such a delusion floating around out there unchallenged? How many man-hours are being wasted by people looking for fraud by following Dr. Shiva’s lead when there are more promising ways to approach it (for example: https://rumble.com/vbz2ld-2020-election-shows-joe-biden-over-performs-in-72-of-counties-using-dominio.html)? Challenging dogma is how science makes progress.

      If there is a mistake in my math, please point it out and I will do whatever I can to correct it — I certainly don’t want to spread misinformation. If my math is correct, my political leanings are irrelevant because 2+2=4 is true no matter who you voted for.

      Reply
  8. Erin

    Pre-election polling showed Trump outperforming Biden with Independent voters nationwide. Since votes are anonymous, if making the assumption that 92% of Independent voters voted for Biden is required to explain the results, then it’s so far off what’s reasonable that it proves something suspicious is happening, either with the data or the analysis. To me it would be like trying to balance books and finding that 92% of wedding guests opted for a vegan meal instead of the pasta dish in a working class setting. It’s too far skewed to a specific preference in a close election.

    That said, your analysis is better than what pops up in top results on the topic. You correctly assess that the graphs would look similar, but the low end would be bumped higher on the Biden analysis, because the districts in the low end of the Biden graph “should” be the districts in the top end of the Trump graph. But if vote switching is taking place, would it take straight party votes and convert them to single candidate votes? If vote switching was limited to Independent voters, it would make it hard for an algorithm to work consistently without moving lots of votes in Independent districts but none in districts where straight party votes were dominant.

    Reply
  9. BARRY HENSLEY

    Speaking of “one vote”, I’m still looking at Kent County Michigan election results. Discovered something interesting the other day. “Times cast” on the spreadsheet for President/Vice Pres.is 363,695. If you add up the “Times cast” numbers on some of the State and County level races you end up with 363,694 even thou the spreadsheet shows 363,695. Why the one vote difference? After further investigation I found the difference in “one precinct” in the AVCB totals. Why? Are they using two different data bases? Did they have to “round up” because of fractional manipulation? Bill, maybe you have an explanation?

    Reply

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