J. Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, sees evidence that election results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked


On Election Day, J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told the BBC, “Unless the election is extraordinarily close, it is unlikely that an attack will result in the wrong candidate getting elected.”

Well, you all know what happened next.

The whole election came down to just 107,330 Votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

And, now, Halderman, and other prominent computer scientists, are urging an investigation.

Yes, as we were discussing yesterday, it’s looking as though things are about to get even more strange.

The following clip comes by way of New York magazine.

Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.

Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case, according to a source briefed on the call. The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.

According to current tallies, Trump has won 290 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232, with Michigan’s 16 votes not apportioned because the race there is still too close to call. It would take overturning the results in both Wisconsin (10 Electoral College votes) and Pennsylvania (20 votes), in addition to winning Michigan’s 16, for Clinton to win the Electoral College. There is also the complicating factor of “faithless electors,” or members of the Electoral College who do not vote according to the popular vote in their states. At least six electoral voters have said they would not vote for Trump, despite the fact that he won their states.

The Clinton camp is running out of time to challenge the election. According to one of the activists, the deadline in Wisconsin to file for a recount is Friday; in Pennsylvania, it’s Monday; and Michigan is next Wednesday. Whether Clinton will call for a recount remains unclear. The academics so far have only a circumstantial case that would require not just a recount but a forensic audit of voting machines. Also complicating matters, a senior Clinton adviser said, is that the White House, focused on a smooth transfer of power, does not want Clinton to challenge the election result. Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri did not respond to a request for comment. But some Clinton allies are intent on pushing the issue. This afternoon, Huma Abedin’s sister Heba encouraged her Facebook followers to lobby the Justice Department to audit the 2016 vote. “Call the DOJ…and tell them you want the votes audited,” she wrote. “Even if it’s busy, keep calling”…

So, what do you think? Is this just one more conspiracy theory, or might there actually be something to this? And, if so, should we fight for an investigation? Without a paper trail, I don’t know how possible it would be, but is it worth the effort? Or, at this point, would it just be a distraction, keeping us from the real task at hand, which is trying to build a unified resistance against the Trump administration?

If you should want to call the Department of Justice and request that the 2016 vote audited, here’s how to reach them.

Department of Justice: 1-800-253-3931 (press 5) or 202-353-1555 (leave message).

And, here, if it helps, is a script shared with my by a friend last night: “My name is [first last name], and I’m calling from [city],[state] to respectfully request you pursue an investigation into the possibility of vote tampering in 2016 presidential election, with particular attention to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Please issue an injunction until a thorough investigation can take place.”

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  1. Jim
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Nate Silver doesn’t think so. https://mobile.twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/801221907609579520

  2. Lynne
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I am torn. On the one hand, I don’t really think that there was any significant amount of election fraud although there were instances of straight up voter intimidation that were so bad that several of my black friends voted absentee out of fear of violence at polling places. However, I dont think that was anything directly coordinated by the Trump campaign. Sure his dog whistles scared some people away from the polls and possibly encouraged some to use intimidation but it doesnt reach the level of illegal activity. I think a big audit would cost a lot of money and would not find fraud

    On the other hand, people are distrustful of our election process and that isn’t limited to the left or the right. People on both sides are distrustful and that comes out when their side loses. Had Clinton won, it would just have been different people questioning the results. An audit can reassure people that our process is not corrupt and there is value in that for sure.

  3. Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Halderman’s essay on the topic suggests that it’s more likely the polling was wrong than that there was any hacking or other interference with the voting machines.

    It’s more that there’s no evidence that voting was not hacked, rather than that there is evidence that they were — and there’s no harm in doing an audit to verify the results. (Heck, Trump’s people ought to be out there calling for this audit to happen in order to remove the cloud of suspicion from the election process.)

  4. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter. We will all die anyway.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Could it be that places with more high tech voting machines were voting for Clinton at a higher percentage because those areas are more affluent?

  6. Leisa Thompson
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not get our hopes up…here’s a post from Alex Halderman.


  7. Brian Bruxvoort
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes, also NC & Florida. [http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/fair-election-serious-hard-explain-questions-arise-about-trump-vote-totals-3-key[

    But wouldn’t a contested election end up in the supreme court? And wouldn’t the supreme court likely be a 4-4 split to unseat trump? What happens then?

  8. Kat
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Jill Stein is raising money for a recount.


  9. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    Jill Stein simply wants to stop being blamed for Trump’s win.

    Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    If Jill Stein asks for a recount and HRC does not, that’s worthy of scrutiny. Jill Stein, like many on either end of the political spectrum, will take the stance that appears to be righteous, whether or not it’s grounded in thr truth. Her voice in this makes me quetsion the whole deal. Murph makes clear I was right to question.

    Jill Stein is a lot like Trump, just on the left, and not as clever. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/trump-met-prominent-anti-vaccine-activists-during-campaign

    And Pete’s right, she doesn’t want to be blamed for Trump. Neither do all those non-voters out in the streets protesting him. When asked how Trump got elected, now they can all say I fought his election. Bullshit.

    All that said, why aren’t our major election results audited as a matter of course? It seems like a good idea, even though there will people, so many people, who will view any discovered discrepancy as evidence of voter fraud.

    I believe the election results were accurate, if not fair– given that the votes of people in urban areas effectively count a lot less in the electoral college. It was a very very close race.

    Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    PS she is asking for a recount by raising money for the Green Party. The Green Party is getting millions of the new donors on its rolls.
    “You can donate up to $22,700 per person by contributing up to $2,700 on this page PLUS $10,000 to each of the following state Green Parties that have allowed contributions to kickstart the recount initiative”

    If you donate to the Green Party recount drive, you will be hearing form them again, and again, and again.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    More relevant than ever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLSveRGmpIE

  13. Bob
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Jean, you know that Burroughs got drunk and shot his wife in the head?

  14. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    Burroughs was a terrible writer and an awful human. I never understood the appeal.

    I suppose for people who didn’t have to grow up with addicts, romanticizing them was somewhat sexy.

    For the rest of us, it was stupid.

  15. wobblie
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    Thank god for the Greens and Jill Stein. The capitulationist democrats are all prepared to roll over for Trump. His “official lead” in Michigan is 10,ooo votes. His official lead in Wisconsin is 22,000.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Yea, I know that, Bob. I’m not a moralist. I think all humans are f’d up–especially addicts. Addicts do terrible things daily. That does not render their work inconsequential. Take addicts and men who are violent towards women out of the literary mix and your library shelves and record and film collections will thin out quickly. Burroughs was an asshole. He was not a terrible writer though. He certainly didn’t romanticize addiction for me. He did help me understand it. That prayer feels too dark many years, becauseI live a privileged existence. This year, we can see it’s essential truth. The underbelly of America is revealed. This year we see how broken we are.

  17. Beth
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    As of right now, Jill Stein has raised $4,925,180.00 for a recount. Her goal is $7,000,000.


  18. Posted November 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Curious as to what this means….


  19. Jean Henry
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    It’s an expensive process. Hillary has lots of money. Also right now money is flowing to the Green party for the effort and I’m sure the DNCis not to keen on that. From what I can tell from Clinton supporting FB groups, she is being pushed by her supporters to participate, or at least to support the effort. I think she has already moved on personally. She appears routinely now in instagram photos with no makeup, no coiffed hair, walking the dogs. She seems to be saying ‘screw it all then.” But everyone loves the not ambitious Hillary. Everyone always loves HRC when she is not ambitious.
    I personally think overturning this election would lead to disaster. I support a recount. I think it should be par for the course. But I worry a great deal about increased violence if it calls the results into question.

  20. Dan Rather by proxy
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    President-elect Donald Trump sent about a dozen tweets over the last couple of days voicing his disdain for the vote recount in Wisconsin (started by Jill Stein and now supported by Hillary Clinton). What is probably going to raise the most eyebrows is Trump’s latest tweets where he alleges millions of people voted illegally. He hasn’t produced any information to back this up and no one has revealed any evidence of illegal voting so it will be interesting to see where this all goes.

    Here’s what he tweeted:
    “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4-states instead of the 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!”

  21. Bob
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    She should have demanded recounts for these states before she ever conceded the election. I guess that would be too humiliating after her handling of Trump’s comments in the days prior to voting. She was just such a terrible candidate. They even fucked up the possibility of a vote challenge. Gross incompetence at every turn. Her campaign will be seen as the biggest embarrassment in history.

  22. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I am waiting on the Electoral College..they vote for the President..if they vote as pledged then he is the President. that is the system…that being said, I think there were many people,who voted for him believing he was abullshit artist at heart, and Pence would help him..and they were tired of the governmental intrusions the Obama adminsitration does, and all the Black and Blue Lives Matter campaigns , in particular..both were wounding in ways that neither people who supported them understood, to many others.

  23. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    He has picked a cabinet and I predict he won’t be very nice to them, but they know this going in. and I think people overlook his embrace of police brutality on arrests..thinking it was just theatre, as hard as that is to imagine. He will be a change agent..people will get a more conservative Supreme Court …this matters to a whole lot of people..I know there are people who vote only on a single issue, abortion..and everything else is irrelevant. Catholics really are antiabortion, antideath penalty and antieuthanasia…that is what is taught and believed and practiced.

  24. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    We have aging baby boomers often retiring and then going back to work..we have a lot of obesity and there are other health issues out there these days… I do not know how two million criminals are reckoned to be strolling around the country currently unnoticed these days, how is that currently actually happening? idk..i find that hard to believe, anyway….. I think the whole idea of deporting millions of immigrants is foolish, in fact they are probably a very good asset in human capital to be tapped for the labor pool. This is just my opinion…

  25. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s bizarre to see everyone acting like we haven’t all seen this before. Are people really this incapable of recognizing patterns? So hindsight really isn’t 20/20 for the vast majority I guess.

  26. jean henry
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    If Bob had bothered to check the Clinton camp media reports (or any really), he would know that neither they, nor the media nor Jill Stein think the recount will efffect the outcome of the election in any way. HRC camp is publicly interested in evidence of Russian involvement. Privately they are not thrilled with the $$ etc flowing to the Green Party. Jill Stein is a good leftist in that she seems more than willing to legitimize and harness hope for the impossible in order to raise her profile and a lot of money from ‘the people.’


  27. jean henry
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    The election is not going to be overturned by recount or the electoral college. The left needs to be more discerning. It’s one thing to call for something in protest. It’s quite another to believe what one calls for is politically possible. We are no better than the right on that count. We need to get real fast. Trump will probably go down on ethics charges. That will take a few years. Then we’all have President Pence– which is arguably more frightening. He has some shot at being effective. EOS will be thrilled. So will the White Working Class that Bernie foolishly thought would vote for him.
    The bubble has to pop. It’s making us idiots. Well meaning, self-congratulatory, self-destructive idiots

  28. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Hey…weird…I agree with you, Jean.

  29. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    It is good to see ytown back again. And so far, we haven’t had the displeasure of drugoon’s return. I don’t know if I could stomach any more of his bizarre TV and recreational drug references.

  30. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I hope we can expect a smooth transition from the lame-duck, Mark Maynard to our new blogger-elect Jean Henry.

  31. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Can we look forward to a Jean Henry Dreamland puppet soon?

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Mark– I think a 6 pack interview with J Alex Halderman about what happened to his report and how it was used by the media and the parties for political ends would be really really interesting.

    Murph mentioned this, but in case it was missed: https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba#.f3dl6214m

    The story has taken on a life of its own. The political distortion effect has been intense.

    IRobert– If I wanted to have a blog, I would have one. I’m not so foolish:)

  33. iRobert
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Jean, is it that they don’t allow prisoners to have blogs? Seems like a violation of your civil rights.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    BREAKING: Judge’s orders immediate start of Michigan recount


  35. Anonymous
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    JUST IN: The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the Board of State Canvassers never should have allowed a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to proceed.


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  1. […] we’re facing, it’s just about the only thing we’ve got left to cling to, assuming the recounts in Wisconsin and Michigan don’t yield any surprises. So a lot of us, despite the fact that it’s extremely […]

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