Was there any widespread fraud in 2020 presidential election? What does Benford's Law say?


  • Deeya Datta Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science and Technology
  • Dr. David Banks Mentor, Duke University




Chi-square test, county vote counts, democracy, election forensics


Fair elections free of any interference are integral tenets of any functioning democracy, and widespread election fraud is undoubtedly a serious threat to a free republic. While instances of electoral fraud are much more prevalent in countries with illiberal democracies, the U.S has recently faced such an accusation. Although he was unable to provide any concrete evidence, the former U.S. President Donald Trump accused his opponent, Joe Biden, now president, of electoral fraud after the presidential election. Fortunately, election forensics are often successful in investigating the validity of such fraud allegations. In this paper, I applied Benford’s law, a rule that should stand up to any large set of natural numbers, such as un-tampered electoral data. Using this law and basic statistical analysis of votes of U.S. counties for candidates of the two major parties, I completed a forensic analysis to investigate Mr. Trump’s allegation. My comprehensive investigation does not find any evidence supporting his allegation.


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How to Cite

Datta, D., & Banks, D. (2021). Was there any widespread fraud in 2020 presidential election? What does Benford’s Law say?. Journal of Student Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v10i3.1848



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