Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Turns out, 2016 may not be done screwing with our emotions.
A group of computer science and election law experts are reportedly urging Hillary Clinton's campaign to demand an audit in three swing states on the grounds that voting machines may have been compromised to favor her Republican challenger, Donald Trump, according to New York Magazine.
The states singled out by the group are reportedly Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The group is said to include John Bonifaz, an election law attorney, and J. Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society and an esteemed computer science researcher.
Trump leads Clinton in all three states by slim margins (9,528 in Michigan; 68,965 in Pennsylvania; and 27,190 in Wisconsin, as of this writing). Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have both been called for Trump, while Michigan remains too close to call.
Clinton trails Trump in the electoral vote 232 to 290. Were Clinton to win Michigan, and if Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were overturned to her side, she would earn 278 electoral votes, pushing her just over the 270 threshold needed to win the White House.
The group reportedly told the Clinton team in a call last Thursday that it found discrepancies between Wisconsin counties with electronic voting machines and those that used paper ballots and optical scanners. The experts allegedly said the difference was 7 percent and accounted for approximately 30,000 votes—enough to give Clinton the win.
They reportedly did not, however, say they have definitive proof that anyone tampered with voting machines, but they reportedly believe their evidence is enough to warrant an independent review, particularly given allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian hackers stole emails from Democratic Party organizations and individuals within the Clinton campaign.
The Clinton campaign has reportedly not made a decision whether to pursue audits in the three states, deadlines for which arrive as early as Friday.
Some have called the New York report, which is based on anonymous sources, into question. A Clinton spokesperson did not yet responded to our request for comment.Theories that Russian hackers stole the election for Trump emerged almost immediately after the Nov. 8 election. In the weeks since, Clinton supporters have urged the Department of Justice to audit voting results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida—states where Clinton led in polls that, after the election, were seen as highly inaccurate.
Update 8:48am CT, Nov. 23: Halderman confirmed in a statement posted to Medium that he and other experts are pushing for a vote audit, but explained that their effort more generally addresses the insufficient safeguards in electronic votes with no paper trail.
“Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not,” Halderman writes. “I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other.”