Benford’s Law.  Here it is described at Wolfram’s Mathworld… a great resource on mathematical concepts:  Benford’s Law.

In short, it turns out there is an unintuitive distribution of digits in the FIRST DIGIT of random numbers, especially justified in the case of counting up to a random number, such as a number of votes.  It’s weird, but makes sense… the digit one has a kind of head start on appearing in the number… and the likelihood that a first digit is a 1 in a random number is ~30%, not the ~11% you would think from the fact that 1 is one of nine possible values for a first digit.

Accounting and voting fraud both can be detected with this law, even if the fraud perpetrator knows the law and takes it into account, to fix the problem this person would have to control all the numbers, and if only some influence could be exerted, say in certain districts, they would have to know the complete final vote count to adjust their fraud to undetectable margins.

When searching to see if fraud activists know this, I found  this, a graduate students look at national results for 2004, and also, this detection of fraud in Venezuela.

Pardon me if this is well known… I am not actively following all the fraud research, but I do think it’s a key issue to straighten out before democracy can really be trusted…. so I do have a notion and certainty that a secure electronic/paper system can be devised for the nation, and an idea that we also need a joint state/federal agency to operate non-partisan elections, but this may be common knowledge among those investigating fraud in 2004.