Was George Gascón Elected by Fraud?

It appears that the election of Los Angeles County District Attorney, George Gascón, on November 3, 2020, was engulfed in substantial, and perhaps irrefutable, fraud. To determine this, I applied standard statistical fraud identification tools to the election data.

In this race, Gascón, previously district attorney of San Francisco County, challenged Jackie Lacey, the incumbent. Lacey, who held the office for the prior eight years (2012 to 2020), is considered to have conducted her duties in a “tough-on-crime” manner.

I begin with the publicly available final election report, as posted on the web by the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters. Anyone can download this at Past Election Info (lavote.net) 

First, here are the vote totals, by voting method (note that Lacey won the “In Polling Place” total across Los Angeles County):

The difference in total vote tally is 264,237 votes, in favor of Gascón.

Let me now briefly describe Benford’s Law, sometimes known as the law of first digits. This statistical tool, used frequently by fraud examiners, relies on the fact that the frequency of first digits in multidigit natural transactions, or tallies, occurs with predictable sameness. The identification of first digits is best explained by example:          

Benford’s Law has been written about in a number of technical and professional journals, as well as in other articles presenting the likelihood of fraud in other November 3, 2020, elections. For all instances of first digits in real, natural data, Benford’s Law predicts that the frequency of first digits (1 through 9, zero is never a leading digit) will occur at or near the following percentages of the transactions or tallies (for a sample size of 250 or more).

Let’s look at an actual election chart for which Benford’s Law does not indicate fraud, shown below.

Note that the candidates’ first digit percentages (blue solid and black dashed lines) closely follow Benford’s predicted values in the standard Benford table above. The Chi-squared reference in the chart, showing a near-perfect correlation to Benford’s Law, will be explained below.

Again, the above chart shows what Benford’s analysis might show if an election is conducted honestly.

However, in cases where the naturally generated numbers are manipulated, the data will likely show deviation from the Benford curves. (The manipulation changes data, including the first digits, and therefore the first digit percentages are also changed.) Perhaps surprisingly, legitimate election data for multiple candidates follows Benford’s Law predictions regardless of the number of votes cast for the winner and the loser.

Now, let’s look at data for the November 3, 2020, Los Angeles County District Attorney race.

Let’s first apply Benford’s law to the official voting data to look for indications of fraud. Here is the overall chart of both candidate’s counts of precinct tally first-digits, compared with the Benford targets.

Note how different this election chart is from the example election chart shown earlier. Both the Gascón and Lacey precinct vote tallies above display indications of fraudulent manipulation. This is a good-sized data sample (3,004 precinct tallies) and the first digits of naturally generated precinct counts should closely match the Benford curve. They do not match. Many Gascón precinct vote counts in the 200s, 300s, and 400s were apparently overwritten with values in the 500s, 600s, 700s, 800s, and 900s, and as we will see, even 1,000s.

Chi-Squared test is another statistical tool that measures the similarity of two curves (two sets of sequential data) and provides a numerical value for the correlation. I have calculated the Chi-squared values in this case, both the Gascón and Lacey data have zero correlation to the Benford predictions. While this would indicate that both candidates’ data were manipulated, I will focus on the Gascón voting data.

Of all vote totals in the final County Registrar’s report, 79.4% were cast by mail. If there was intent to defraud the voters of LA County and steal this election for Mr. Gascón, it would likely center on votes by the mail-in method.

So, let’s now focus on those votes cast by mail (VBM). We go deeper into the data to see if, in fact, votes by mail appear to have been added to Gascón’s totals in the 500s through 900s, as indicated by the chart above, and that they were also added in the 1,000s. Here are a table and chart splitting out these precinct tallies (Again, all data are taken directly from the official County Registrar report.)

It appears that the vote tallies for Gascón in the 200s to 400s are disproportionately low, and are disproportionately high for the 500s through 900s, as indicated in the histogram above. This is consistent with the initial indicator of fraud in the Benford graph for this election. Therefore, many Gascón precinct vote counts in the 200s, 300s, and 400s were likely overwritten with values in the 500’s, 600s, 700s, 800s, and 900s. If this occurred, those acts are fraudulent.

To further drill down, let’s look at a subset of the detailed data for the leading digit of “6,” in the chart above:            

Is it reasonable to believe that in this election (53.5% Gascón to 46.5% Lacey), candidate Gascón won 84% more precincts (555/302), and 84% more votes (358,444/184,326) in which the precinct winner has a winning Vote By Mail vote count in the 600s?

Lastly, let’s look at precinct tallies of 1,000 and higher. (These are, of course, a portion of the precinct tallies with “1” as the first digit):             

I ask the reader, does it seem likely that Gascón would win 90% of precincts (156/174) and over nine times the votes in which the precinct winner has greater than 1,000 mail-in votes?

It appears District Attorney George Gascón won a fraudulent election process. If that is true, that this election was conducted with criminal fraud, we may need a legal and investigative agency other than the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office to investigate.

Images: Los Angeles County Clerk's Office, Author

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