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What is statistically-based quick count?

On 2012 Verkhovna Rada Elections, for the first time in Ukraine the Civil Network OPORA will use full-scale monitoring system of election results – statistically-based quick count, or quick count.

Statistically-based quick count technique is a stationary observation during the voting and vote counting process at polling stations, chosen by statistical random sampling. It gives a possibility to assess quality of the election process with a minimal statistical error and to forecast maximally accurate election results. In contrast to an exit-poll, election results are forecasted not on the basis of a poll of voters, but on the basis of vote counting at polling stations.

Quick count has two components: the analysis of quantitative and qualitative indices. The first — is a result of calculation operations on a basis of specially prepared statistical software. Checkpoints (polling stations) for the quick count are chosen on the basis of random sample results. Received by the direct observation data is entered into corresponding protocols and sent by SMS to GSM terminal in the central office, where it is processed by special equipment and programs. In order to ensure the reliability of information, which is collected in the central office, the method of controlled collection of data received by phone or SMS messages is used. 

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Information from polling stations gathered by hundreds or thousands (depending on the sample) observers-volunteers is necessary to perform quantitative analysis. Quantitative data give the possibility to show trends and dynamics in voter turnout and voting results, to identify the number and type of organizational (deviations from standard voting procedures) and manipulative (aimed at changing people's choice) violations. The purpose of qualitative research – is to ensure the diligent assessment of important aspects of the election process: transparency, equality of observance of electoral laws, presence or absence of manipulative processes for the benefit of any party etc. In other way, if the election legislation was violated before the Election Day or vote counting, quick count wouldn't be able to determine falsifications, which influenced the election results. Therefore, long-term monitoring of the election process is extremely important stage before the quick count conduction.

The key method for implementation of qualitative research during the Voting day is an observation form (so-called questionnaire), which traditionally consists of 12-15 questions, chosen to receive data from four fundamental spheres. The first group includes questions on polling stations' functioning, the second – on the work of PECs, third – the quality of election materials, fourth – observance of voting and vote counting procedures. Observation forms shall be standard, compact, and containing precise instructions. The first step of analysis – is data collection, second – searching systematic problems, factors, which could substantially influence the voting process.

Modern means of monitoring methods organization expect realization of the following quick count targets:

  • detection, prevention and disclosure of violations during the counting of votes;
  • conduction of instant counting of results;
  • stimulation of trust to the election process and official results;
  • controlling the quality of the election process;
  • encouraging citizens to participate in social life.

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