• 11.23.16

Here’s the only way to figure out if the election was hacked

Yesterday, New York Magazine‘s Gabriel Sherman wrote that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been compromised, based on the findings of a group of computer scientists and election security experts. 

One of those experts, J. Alex Halderman, penned a Medium post today to “set the record straight” and clarify what he and others have said to the Clinton campaign—that while there isn’t clear proof of wrongdoing, it’s worth pursuing a recount to put minds at ease and set a precedent for manually reviewing paper ballots in future elections. 

From Halderman’s post: 

Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. 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. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts . . . 

Examining the physical evidence in these states — even if it finds nothing amiss — will help allay doubt and give voters justified confidence that the results are accurate. It will also set a precedent for routinely examining paper ballots, which will provide an important deterrent against cyberattacks on future elections.