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Data quality error, or election fraud? You be the judge

Richard Jones Archive

Data quality is important to organizations for multiple reasons. For one, it keeps them from making technical mistakes that can lead to wasted time and money. But another, less considered advantage is this - accurate data can help you keep up appearances.

Sometimes when things go wrong, it's hard to tell whether you're looking at a data quality error or something ethically fishy. Consider the case of the recent race for City Council speaker in New York City. According to the New York Post, there are allegations of election fraud taking place in the Big Apple. One politician is running for office with lengthy petitions supporting his candidacy, but it's unclear where those names came from. Are they authentic, are they the result of a technical malfunction, or are they fraudulent? It's hard to say.

East Harlem district leader John Ruiz, who recently won a seat atop the 68th Assembly District, is now mired in political scandal. His son recently told the newspaper that the candidate's signatures included forgeries and deceased individuals. The son - Johnathan Ruiz, 26 - claims his father was in a panic to round up enough names, and he cut some corners.

It's unclear whether the incorrect names on the petitions were the result of deliberate foul play, or merely a mistake in a database somewhere. Jonathan Ruiz has his suspicions, as he's actively working against his father and his father's running mate, Melissa Mark-Viverito.

"Melissa's campaign manager gave the wrong addresses out," Ruiz said. "None of the signatures would've counted, and they both wouldn't have made the ballot."

Headlines like this one can be damaging to a politician's reputation, but they can potentially be avoided by using strong address management solutions that will weed out mistakes. By catching outdated contact information and incorrect addresses in databases, all organizations can prevent massive problems from unfolding later.