The system, designed by senior political strategist Matt Lackey, is based on Benford's law, a mathematical principle that states that the first digits of numbers are distributed steadily in nature. In most organically produced sets of numbers, from baseball statistics to the areas of rivers, the ratio of whose (for example) first digit is 7 to those whose first digit is 4 should remain constant.[snip]Tonight, Lackey and his colleagues in the AFL's analytics department will be checking on charts that should appear as a clean slope if the digits in vote totals occur in the same ratios they are expected to appear in nature. "We can detect when things are or are not natural," says Lackey. "If you've got a big analytics shop, it's not hard to get them to do one more thing, if it's looking at a graph and saying does it look like a slalom?"
What happens if abnormalities are found? They'll get passed to the union's legal and media departments, Issenberg writes.
Don't Miss Today's Top Stories
Rick, Executive Director for Policy
Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."
Chuck, Graduate Student
The day's action in one quick read."
Stacy, Director of Communications
I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."
Richard, VP of Government Affairs
Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "
Michael, Executive Director