Too smooth and too linear

Right now, the argument is about the myriad discrepancies between the tallies reported by the polling places and the data on PREP. The IFE (Instituto Federal Electoral) defended the data on the PREP web site saying that they kept a “file of inconsistencies” whenever they got tallies that didn’t make sense to them. They say such file may account for the differences noted by many people between the tallies for president (less) and the tallies for congress people (more).

Even if your Spanish is rusty, this may interest you:

http://em.fis.unam.mx/public/mochan/elecciones/

The first chart shows the number of tallies processed on the horizontal axis and the share of votes to each main candidate. The second chart shows the cumulative number of tallies processed by the PREP every 5-10 minutes (this guy wrote a program to load the PREP page every 5 min, but there were delays). The third chart is number of votes vs. number of tallies processed — it looks too linear. Fourth chart: votes per tally vs. number of tallies. Fifth chart: the difference in votes between Calderón and López Obrador vs. number of tallies — very smooth.

Quick comments on this: They seemed to have purposefully plugged FIRST the data from tallies that favored Calderón, pushing back tallies favoring López Obrador. Why? Perhaps to create the impression that Calderón was ahead from the getgo. But then the difference declined rapidly. As chart 1 shows, they were going to have equal shares between 85-90% of the tallies. But then something happened and the difference began to increase — this something happened between 3 and 4 am yesterday. But then the difference was going to be too high to convince? Etc. That curve in chart 4 just looks too smooth to my suspicious eyes.

Will López Obrador succeed in persuading the public that a tender democracy like Mexico’s needs the extra dose of patience and care, that votes need to be counted and added up properly? The pressure is mounting. The PRI candidate, Roberto Madrazo is implicitly saying that Calderón won already. One of the micro candidates (Roberto Campa) is saying the same, but explicitly. Reforma, a newspaper that backed Calderón, is reporting that “the markets” are starting to get nervous because Calderón has not yet been declared the official winner.

People in Mexico will mobilize. López Obrador is a pitbull of a politician. He’s not going to relent. But it may also help a bit to send letters to newspapers, blogs, and outlets everywhere saying that Mexico should look itself in the mirror of the U.S. 2000 and 2004. Forcing a court decision or rushing ahead with preliminary results may not be well advised. A nation (even “the markets”) can live with a bit of uncertainty for a few days, all for the sake of credible and robust democratic institutions in a big country.

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