Geek news: A look into the 'constant 47% ratio' between Marcos' and Robredo's votes

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2022 07:18 PM | Updated as of May 12 2022 10:13 PM

Poll workers prepare election equipment at the Kiamba Central Elementary School in Sarangani province on May 9, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Poll workers prepare election equipment at the Kiamba Central Elementary School in Sarangani province on May 9, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has claimed victory in the 2022 presidential race, after enjoying a wide lead of more than 16 million votes with 98% of election returns transmitted.

But during the counting, questions were raised on constant ratio of the votes of Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo as more election returns were transmitted and counted. 

During the first few hours of transmission from 8 to 11 p.m. of May 9, the ratio was constant at around 47 percent.

But according to ABS-CBN News Data Analytics Head Edson Guido, the constant 47% ratio between Marcos' and Robredo's votes is due to the fact that all the regions were well-represented during the transmission of results.

This is because vote-counting machines (VCMs)—regardless of their location—transmit independently from one another, almost at real time right after polls closed at 7 p.m. on Monday.

"Initially, 3 percent 'yong election returns. Tapos biglang nag-37 [percent], the next batch halos 50 na. So ibig sabihin, cumulative yung dagdag na boto... we're talking about tens of millions of votes na pumapasok," Guido said.

(Initially, election returns transmitted were at 3 percent, then 37 percent, then the next batch got almost 50 percent. The votes were added cumulatively. We're talking about tens of millions of votes transmitted.)

The cumulative nature of the counted votes is also a factor in the constant ratio between Marcos' and Robredo's votes, as the new transmissions already add weight to the number of votes they already gained in earlier transmissions.

"They're adding to the previous total. From 12 million, to 15 million, to 18 million, hindi siya difference. Hindi siya change," Guido said.

"For you to change the ratio of that 50 percent ng votes, the next one that is coming to join this whole 50 percent has to be so drastically different," he added.

https://sa.kapamilya.com/absnews/abscbnnews/media/2022/life/05/12/transmissions.jpg

In this transmission progress table, 4 provinces and 1 city were chosen for comparison with that of the whole country in general: Camarines Sur, Robredo's bailiwick; Ilocos Norte, Marcos Jr.'s bailiwick; Davao del Sur, a Sara Duterte bailiwick; as well as vote-rich Cebu province and Quezon City.

The table shows that at during the transmission time, all 5 chosen areas had a similar transmission rate along with the Philippines, which supports Guido's statement that all regions were well-represented.

Transmissions over time can be seen in Halalan results site here

"In short, para ka lang nag-survey. Pero 'yong survey mo nga, 2,000 lang eh. Dito, tens of millions. And you're capturing the entire thing na well-represented, well-mixed," Guido said.

(In short, it's like doing a survey. But in a survey, you only have 2,000 respondents. Here you have tens of millions. And you're capturing the entire thing that is well-presented and well-mixed.)

The constant 47% ratio is also the statistical Law of Large Numbers at work: "as a sample size grows, its mean gets closer to the average of the whole population," according to financial website Investopedia.

Pulse Asia pre-election surveys consistently showed Marcos Jr. leading by wide margins, with his ratings reaching up to more than 50 percent.

Poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also had a similar view on the constant "68:32" ratio between Marcos' and Robredo's votes, saying it "does not indicate any irregularities."

"The relatively consistent distribution of votes may be expected to closely mirror the national vote given the random pattern of receipt of the transmitted results," PPCRV said in a statement.

Dr. William Yu, an IT director of PPCRV, said the experts they consulted cited the principle of Law of Large Numbers.

"The closer you are to the final answer in terms of population, the more it reflects the final number," he said.

He added the experts also looked at the regional distribution for reach transmitted results.

"In summary, the computed ratio being similar to each other across different transmission arrivals is not unexpected," the experts' report read.

"In fact, given that the transmission arrivals can be considered as random samples of the total vote, the computed ratios for each transmission arrival being similar is quite expected."

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