The Miami Herald has used data analysis software developed by the SAS Institute to identify significant errors in the recent presidential vote counting in Florida.
The Herald, which plans to conduct a complete recount of the six million votes cast in the state, said its researchers have already discovered significant irregularities, including 465 votes cast by convicted criminals - not eligible to vote under Florida law - and over 400 illegal votes found in Broward County.
Geoff Dougherty, the Herald's computer-assisted reporting editor, said the discoveries would not have been possible without the SAS software. "Without SAS it would have been vastly more difficult and time consuming," he said. "You really can't do this kind of analysis with other software."
An estimated 60,000 of the votes cast in Florida were deemed to be spoiled, in a presidential race that saw the two candidates separated by just a few hundred votes. The Herald will be paying particular attention to these "undervotes".
This is the second time that the Herald has used SAS software to identify voting irregularities. The paper won a Pulitzer prize for its investigation into suspicious voting practices in the 1997 Miami mayoral election.