What happens when official data is incomplete?
At the end of July 2021, Iran5050.com - claiming to be affiliated with the judiciary of Iran, published a comprehensive tabulation of Iran’s 2021 presidential elections. At that time, president-elect Ebrahim Raisi had still not resigned from his position as the head of Iran's judiciary. This dataset seems to have been heavily manipulated to portray a different story about the results of the June 2021 election. Most notably, the data shows a much higher voter turnout and much lower number of spoiled ballots than published official results, which were approved by the Guardian Council. Moreover, while the official results showed spoiled ballots in the second position and beating all other candidates besides Raisi, the Iran5050 Data presents a much lower number of spoiled ballots (by nearly half) and higher votes for Abdol Nasser Hemmati, the former head of the central bank of Iran. It would appear this data has been designed to present a much different narrative from what happened in June, a more favorable narrative for Raisi,showing an election in which Iranians participated heavily and there was a tough competition between the two leading candidates. It is not known to Nabz-Iran who is behind the website nor the purpose of publishing such a fictional dataset. However, contexts like Iran where there is not enough transparency in the electoral process and the formal electoral body fails to publish the accurate and holistic election data allow for such other groups to fill in the gap and publish their own alternative narratives, which could further deepen the public mistrust in the whole elections. Unlike previous presidential elections with more timely data availability, the Ministry of Interior had not yet published the tabulation results per county when this infographic was produced.