A mix of journalists, citizen volunteers, election experts and data analysts have begun delving into what appear to voting irregularities in a few of the states that swung towards Donald Trump on election night, despite consistently polling towards Clinton. Journalist David Greenwald and music publicity company owner Beth Martinez began looking at unusual swings in Wisconsin counties that voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. The more the pair dug, and the more experts they sought out, the more irregularities they began to find – including higher numbers of POTUS voter turnouts than ballots issues in many counties in swing states as confirmed by University of Florida professor and election expert Michael McDonald.
As the numbers have been more closely scrutinized, more and more experts are calling for an audit of the voting totals in key swing states. Election security specialist J. Alex Halderman expressed his belief that the results should be challenged on Medium, and Ron Rivest and Philip Stark echoed similar sentiments in USA Today. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has called for an investigation into both the hacking of the DNC and of the election itself and the head of the NSA Adm. Michael M. Rodgers said, “We need to step back as a nation and think about, what are the implications of that?” when speaking of politically-motivated Russian hacks.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein has been among the most vocal proponents of a recount, and last week she announced a fund aiming to raise the millions of dollars necessary for the filing costs, attorney’s fees and recount observers for a recount. As of today (Saturday) Stein has raised a whooping $5 million and counting and has already begun the recount process in Wisconsin. “After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many American to wonder if our election results are reliable. These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified.” Stein said in a statement Wednesday. “We deserve elections we can trust.”
The outcome of the election being reversed is highly unlikely unless widespread voter fraud is discovered; something Wisconsin election commission director Michael Haas doubts will be the case. Although he and his team are prepared for the recount, he said that, “We don’t have any reason to suspect that any voting equipment has been tampered with,” but it will of course be impossible to know until millions of votes are reexamined.
If this seems like the stuff of fantasy, or perhaps sour grapes on the part of the disgruntled left, consider that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta had their private emails hacked, Arizona and Illinois had their voter registration data hacked and voter data stolen, and that over twenty other states have also reported evidence of attempted hacks. With half of our states reporting something suspicious at least being attempted, something certainly seems amiss here, and hacking voter machines isn’t all that far-fetched for someone willing to take the risk. Once polling data shows cyber attackers which states will have close electoral races, they could spread malware into the voting machines of these states that is designed to remain dormant during pre-election security sweeps, activate once voting is underway, and then erase itself after the polls close.
Considering Donald Trump made the jaw-droppingly poor choice of inviting Russia to further interfere with our elections before the vote, the rumors that Trump’s team was in touch with Russia officials throughout the campaign, Trump’s myriad shady business and banking deals in Russia, and recent revelations that Trump has spoken with Putin more than any other world leader since being elected – it’s easy to see why so many want these numbers and irregularities further examined.
The Clinton camp had remained mostly silent on the issue of a recount, until recently when campaign lawyer Mark Elias wrote a post on Medium explaining that the campaign has “taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.” Elias went on to state that because of the unprecedented amount of illegal foreign interference in this election the Clinton camp intends to “participate (in the recount process) in order to ensure that the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”
As it stands now, Trump has 290 Electoral College votes compared with Clinton’s 232, with Michigan’s 16 votes not yet awarded because the race there is still too close to call. Clinton would need to claim Michigan and have both Pennsylvania (20 Electoral College votes) and Wisconsin (10 votes) overturned in her favor to take the lead overall. Further complicating matters are the six “faithless electors”, members of the Electoral College who have said they will not vote for Trump despite the fact he emerged victorious in their states.
It is of course possible that these irregularities only further illustrate pollsters underestimation of how motivated Trump’s base was – and how unmotivated a great deal of Democratic voters were. And if that’s all that’s going on here, why not take the time to be 100 percent sure of the numbers? Because if outside influences are altering American elections and robbing us of our most American of rights – voting – then we are all weakened to a dangerous degree. Regardless of your political beliefs, the sanctity of each American’s vote is paramount and should be treated as such.