Election Results Only a Little Bit Wrong

The Iranian authorities have admitted that there are some discrepancies in the election results.

Apparently the results in “only fifty cities” are wrong with more votes being recorded than eligible voters. Which seems in direct contrast to the announcement of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said 3 days ago that “the Islamic Republic would not cheat“.

There are, according to Wikipedia, around 250 cities in Iran, so apparently a 20% error rate is acceptable. Of these cities only 80 or so have a population greater than 100,000. So depending on which cities have the “errors” there could be an error rate even higher if taken on a population basis, it’s possible that 30% of Iranians cannot trust their local polling office based on the errors admitted.

But we should not worry – the number of “extra” votes was a mere 3 million, not enough to change the outcome of the election in an electorate with a total of 40 million voters. In other words even if there were no extra votes Ahmadinejad would still have won.

Anyway why are we worrying? No one protested like this when the US 2004 presidential election results were questioned. Yes, seriously that is an argument the Iranians are using in their defense. To quote;

“No one encouraged the American people to stage a riot” because they disagreed with the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004, he said.

Hmmm, it was the 2000 election that was seriously questioned, but then there were some transparent legal steps and an independent court that ultimately decided the outcome of the election. Even so, there was significant outrage at various pre-election and election counting practices.

In both elections foreign journalists commented and various citizens published their own voice of protest, as far as I know Michael Moore was never imprisoned/arrested/beaten/shot.

The top advisors in Iran don’t seem to get it. If there is any evidence of tampering for some of the votes, then no-one can trust any of the votes.

Admitting the election was a little bit wrong is like a woman saying she’s a little bit pregnant. Nonsense.

Twitter Green Avatars

As a post script to my last post, many people are adding green to their avatars on facebook/twitter in support for the Iran election protests. If you want to change your avatar here are some options;

  • Creative bits has created some green avatars
  • Nima Heydarian has more green avatars for download.
  • I borrowed a green ribbon from wikimedia and overlaid it on my existing avatar, there’s now a one click way to add a ribbon.
  • Or add a green overlay to your twitter avatar with one click (160,000 people have used this as of Monday 19.00 CET). Interview with the developer, Arik Fraimovich.

I’ll add more as I find them. Once you’ve greened your icon you can add it to the greenwall (6550 added so far, and still counting).

Other bits and pieces of interest

  • To view images of the protests, there’s a flickr stream, the images range from hope-filled to gruesome.
  • To see search terms on the rise, here’s a google trends analysis of key terms.
  • To see trends across all social media here’s a collection, and another from Mashable.
  • Amnesty International’s reports are here

Other ways you can help

And a couple of things to watch out for;

  • be wary of the source of information, it seems the authorities are feeding misinformation into twitter
  • do not retweet names or avatars, twitter is being watched – and those tweeters are in danger

Twitter gets serious

The number 1 trending topic on Twitter right now is #iranelection.

twitter avatars in support of Iran
twitter avatars go green in support of Iran

Twitter has become so important that they’ve rescheduled their planned maintenance from a time that would suit America, but be in the middle of Tuesday morning Iran time, to a time that is the middle of the night in Iran, but within business hours in West Coast US. According to one commentator the reschedule was at the request of the US government.

With international news coverage from Iran limited, few diplomatic ties and other social media sites banned twitter has become a lifeline for news from Iran. Tips for following the aftermath of the Iran Elections have already been published.

The links supplied via Twitter go to a phenomenal number of different reports/blogs/images and video clips, there are links to Amnesty International, and mention of a denial of service attack on websites of the Iranian government.

As a show of support many tweeters are adding a touch of green to their avatar, either a green wash or specific green avatars. First seen on Monday, I think the first I noticed was Jason Pollock.

There are a lot of retweets so there is significant noise in the feed, but it’s clearly a flood of information. What the impact will be remains to be seen.

There have been 2382 tweets using the hashtag “iranelection” since I started writing this post.


Two days later and #iranelection is still the top trending topic on twitter. Here are some other articles/resources from around the web, mostly on the impact Twitter/social media has had.