Imaginary voters gave huge win to Iran’s president

Hard evidence is mounting that the Iranian vote count was fraudulent. The highest election authority in the country, the unelected Guardian Council, said Monday that its investigation showed that more votes were reported cast in 50 voting districts than there were registered voters. In two provinces where Mr. Ahmadinejad won a week ago, a turnout of more than 100 percent was reported.
Officials said the numbers involved weren’t enough to change the results of the election. That is beside the point. The frauds discovered show that none of the numbers made public can be trusted.
An outside study done jointly by Chatham House, a London-based research organization, compared the 2005 election with this one and came up with glaring inconsistencies. The study showed that in a third of all provinces, the official results, if true, would have required that Mr. Ahmadinejad win not only all conservative voters and all former centrist voters and all new voters, but up to 44 percent of formerly reformist voters, a result so unlikely that it becomes another proof of fraud, the New York Times reported.
Ahmadinejad’s opponents are right to call for a new election rather than a recount. It is apparent that the government cannot be trusted to count the ballots any more accurately a second time. It may even be true that there was no count at all, but that election officials merely made up numbers and issued them as factual.
There are some cases when the degree of malfeasance is beside the point. An election either is or isn’t honest. Iran’s was obviously and grossly dishonest.
A new election should be held and outside election watchers brought in to oversee the voting and the counting.
That appears unlikely to happen. Iran’s government will therefore be considered illegitimate by a majority of its own people and by the watching world.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.