OPINION: A response to Stanley Ming’s analysis regarding the OLE

Voters outside the Central High School. [iNews' Photo]
Voters outside the Central High School

The following article was submitted by Economist – Dhanraj Singh and Financial Analyst – Joel Bhagwandin

This article summarises a detailed response to Stanley Ming’s analysis regarding our electoral system and more subtly, his attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of the 2020 election results. The detailed response is available to the public. On May 20, 2020, about 80 days after the March 2, 2020 elections and about 1800 days after the 2015 elections, Stanley Ming questioned the validity of the OLE, voter turnout, and valid votes cast in the 2015 elections. Before addressing his core question and claims, it is worth noting that the single question Ming raised relates to the 2015 elections and not the 2020 elections, although this is what his analysis seeks to cast doubt on in our humble view. While public debate on this issue is always welcome and important, the timing of Ming’s concerns raised serious questions about the motive given that the nation is embroiled with the most transparent electoral fraud in its history.

Ming’s analysis epitomises the expression ‘death by a thousand cuts’ – a figure of speech that refers to a failure that occurs as a result of many small problems. Indeed, his analysis suffers from a combination of poor assumptions, selective use of data, improper comparisons, poor measurement and interpretation of data, and most of all, a lack of clarity on the issue he attempted to investigate, related factors, and their relationships with the electoral outcomes. Consequently, while his analysis may appear orderly on the surface, it failed tragically let alone to support his efforts to cast doubt on the 2020 elections and more specifically the underlying presumption of possibly widespread voting by persons not entitled to vote or by the dead.

At the heart of his analysis is the argument that the 2015 OLE is bloated. Ming asked: How is it possible that for 2015, the OLE contained 570,787 persons with a voter turnout of 416,055 and 412,912 valid votes? He also noted that these numbers show that compared to 2011, the OLE increased by 95,291: the voter turnout increased by 73,819, and valid votes increased by 70,676. First, an increase in voter turnout of 73,819 is not unheard of in our history. Based on Ming’s numbers, in 1997, voter turnout increased by 99,961 (almost 100,000) over 1992. The same is true for valid votes. In 1997, valid votes cast increased by more than 96,000 over 1992. Thus, the mere suggestion that the increase in voter turnout or valid votes in 2015 is an anomaly would be ignorant of historical facts.

More evidently, in 2012, based on the census data, the number of people aged 15-19 was 84,798. People who were 19 years in 2012, a subset of this age group, would largely be eligible to be on the OLE in 2011 since they would have been of the age 18 in 2011. But all the persons who were aged 15-17, the bigger subset of this age group, who were not on the 2011 OLE would become eligible to be on the 2015 OLE since even the youngest in that sub-group would be age 18 in 2015. What this shows is that in 2015, there was an influx of eligible voters on the OLE due to demographic shift. This does not account for the total increase in the 2015 OLE but almost certainly most of it.

Persons who were entitled to be on the OLE in 2015 but were not on it for whatever reason would also contribute to the additional persons added.

The same dynamics apply to the 2020 OLE which is what Ming is really concerned about but avoids attacking it directly. Again, for emphasis, if Ming had paid attention to the evidence, he would have been more informed. In 2012, the number of people aged 10-14 was 83,139. None of these individuals would have been eligible to be on the 2015 OLE since even those who were age 14 in 2012 would only have been age 17 years in 2015. However, almost all these individuals are eligible to be on the 2020 OLE since even the youngest who were age 10 in 2012 would be age 18 in 2020. Thus, like 2015, there is a large cohort of new electors eligible to be on the 2020 OLE. What the evidence shows is that the increases in the OLE in 2015 and 2020 are not magical but driven largely by demographic shifts.

Perhaps, the most unfortunate part of the analysis is the clear trail it left behind that exposes the likely motive for the exercise which is to undermine the 2020 elections by not attacking it directly but by attacking the credibility of the entire system focusing on the 2015 elections. More specifically, to develop a theory that would provide some basis to the baseless claims of widespread irregularities in the 2020 elections resulting is illegitimate votes. Not only do the data he provided fail to support his presumption, it also turned it on its head. In the process, he sacrificed not just statistical standards and basic research, but several related facts which include the rigorous process involved in getting on the OLE as well as voting on Elections Day.

No system of election is perfect. However, Guyanese can be confident that the 2020 OLE and the elections are robust and credible. The only threat to our elections is the fraud that Mingo perpetrated on the tabulation process in Region Four and ongoing efforts to tarnish the credibility of the results of the elections and deny the will of the people.