Jeremy Felt

The Speed Counters of Iran – 40 million votes in 12 hours

Everybody has agreed thus far that an astonishing number of votes were counted in a very short period of time last Friday when Iran held their presidential election. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to the actual vote counting data in Iran, so all we are left with is guess work. I’ll use the numbers from this AP article as an example. Even if they are off a bit, the point is still there.

  • 39.2 million votes
  • Hand counted ballots
  • Total count released within 12 hours of polls closing.

With theory and numbers alone– it would take 907 people just over 12 hours of constant counting at 1 ballot per second to be able to count all 39.2 million votes. Possible, yes. Likely? Not so much. But you never know– read on.

As of 2005, Iran had 324 Shahrestans (counties) in 30 provinces. Tehran is the largest province at 13.5 million people and Ilam is the smallest at 500,000. Counting 40 million votes in 12 hours becomes a lot easier on paper when you split this project up into 324 counties. Once this is done, it would only take an average of 3 people counting for 12 hours in each county. Move your basic math around and you’re looking at 12 people for 3 hours. Granted I’m no expert, and it’s not the answer I was originally looking for, but one could successfully argue for a reasonable doubt that 40 million votes could actually be counted in 12 hours as long as the organization was there to handle it.

Of course, if it is true, I’m sure there are plenty of election officials across the world that would jump at the chance to see such a well oiled and efficient machine in action so they could duplicate for their own election processes.

Responses and reactions


sugar replied on 

Jeremy,It is too bad that there is no exit polls or anything like that, is there? Can we get a person that speaks the language and randomly dial 100 voters in Iran and see what the percentage is?Sugar

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