Why 'constant 47% ratio' and '68:32 magic' claims are insufficient proof of fraud, according to experts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — Over the past days, some voters have raised suspicions of voter fraud after seeing what seemed like a dubious trend in the first batch of partial and unofficial tally of election results.

In the first few hours after clustered precincts began transmitting election returns on the evening of May 9, netizens observed what seemed like a constant 68:32 pattern or a 47% ratio between leading presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and archrival Leni Robredo.

The Commission on Elections already disputed claims of election rigging, noting that this consistent margin between the two candidates is "statistically probable."

READ: Comelec, PPCRV dispel claims of anomalous patterns in May 2022 poll results 

The poll body's citizen arm, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, and polling firm OCTA Research, also agree. Citing the "law of large numbers," they explained why cheating would be hard to prove, based on the electronically transmitted results.

The law of large numbers

"This is about the law of large numbers...It is not unexpected that the trend line will be a certain pattern because obviously, as more data come in, it becomes closer to the mean," PPCRV chair Myla Villanueva told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

Encyclopedia Britannica defines the law of large numbers as a statistical theorem which shows that "as the number of identically distributed, randomly generated variables increases, their sample mean (average) approaches their theoretical mean."

David noted that such trend seen between the votes for the main rivals in the polls can actually be considered "normal."

He explained: "Kunyari sa Ilocos, instead of vote-counting machines, let's say ang vote natin ay butil ng bigas. Meron tayong sako ng bigas in Ilocos and ang votes for BBM let's say kinulayan ng red, and just for simplicity, white yung kay VP Leni."

[Translation: For example, in Ilocos, instead of vote-counting machines, let's say our votes are equivalent to grains of rice. We have a sack of rice from Ilocos with red grains representing BBM votes and just for simplicity, the white grains are for VP Leni.]

David explained that in the vote-counting process, it is easy to assume that most "red grains" would come from Ilocos, which is Marcos' bailiwick, while most of the "white grains" would come from Bicol, which largely supports Robredo. But in the actual elections, the whole voting population should be considered as being in "one big container."

"Ngayon kung kukuha tayo ng isang kutsara sa container na ‘yun dahil kaunti lang ang butil na ‘yun, ang ratio pwedeng iba-iba...Pero if we take large numbers like isang tabo, ‘yung consistency niya, kung well-mixed ‘yung bigas sa container, it will be more or less the same kahit saan tayo kumuha ng tabo, doon sa isang part ng container," he said.

[Translation: Now, if we get only a spoonful of rice, the ratio would be diverse...But if we take large numbers like with a pitcher and the consistency of the rice is well-mixed in the container, it (the ratio) will be more or less the same regardless of which part of the container we get.]

David noted that the law of large numbers does not just simply emphasize whether one candidate is leading over the other, it highlights that "the proportion is close to what we are expecting sa (in the) overall proportion for the entire Philippines."

As of 2:32 p.m. on Thursday, partial and unofficial tally comprising 98.35% of election returns show the late dictator's son garnered 31,103,857 votes, more than double the 14,821,962 votes for archrival Vice President Leni Robredo.

Marcos already declared victory despite the unofficial count. Robredo has still not conceded defeat, but she already thanked her supporters and reminded them about the bigger battles that lie ahead, even after the elections.