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This story on CNN caught my eye this morning:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/22/politics/hillary-clinton-chall...

I'd want a lot more information before considering this to be other than tin foil hattery, but it might be worth a look. The thing is, if you wanted to hack a US election as was feared prior to Nov. 8, you wouldn't have to be that widespread in your efforts. A more subtle thumb on the scales in a few of the swing states would do it, and this fits that profile.

I'd want to know:

- What is the distribution of electronic voting machines in the states mentioned? If there is a disproportionately higher amount of them in predominantly red areas then the 7% discrepancy might be expected

- How many electronic voting machines are there, and how many votes would have been affected? Would it have been enough to change the results?

- What vulnerabilities are there in the machines themselves to systematic hacking? There was strong evidence of Russian backed hacking against the Democrats in other areas of the election (eg. DNC emails)

I'd love to have someone like 538 dig into this a bit deeper and see what level of anomaly we're really looking at here. It could be nothing, but it could also be enormous. Yuge even.
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The article is so vague it seems like regular post-election noise. "top computer scientists" doesn't exactly give me a huge confidence boner for this. Hopefully the "campaign aides" this was submitted to treat it with the highest level of cynicism.
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Jeff Y
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Could be. Like I said, I'd want a lot more information than was in the article. Media of all stripes like to toss around misleading statistics in the hopes of stirring controversy. However, they did mention the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society as one of the scientists, who should theoretically have some idea what he is about. It would be worth a bit of investigation I think.
 
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I dunno. It's worth looking into, but it does seem like a last ditch hail mary play to change the results. Even if something comes of it, with the Powers That Be let the results be changed? Doing so would show the US election process can be hacked and that would be bad PR at the low end and extremely demoralizing to US citizens at the high end. Throw a PR victory for Russian and Putin in there as well.

There's a few name and detail below.



Hillary Clinton urged to call for election vote recount in battleground states

Quote:
A growing number of academics and activists are calling for US authorities to fully audit or recount the 2016 presidential election vote in key battleground states, in case the results could have been skewed by foreign hackers.

The loose coalition, which is urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to join its fight, is preparing to deliver a report detailing its concerns to congressional committee chairs and federal authorities early next week, according to two people involved.

The document, which is currently 18 pages long, focuses on concerns about the results in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“I’m interested in verifying the vote,” said Dr Barbara Simons, an adviser to the US election assistance commission and expert on electronic voting. “We need to have post-election ballot audits.” Simons is understood to have contributed analysis to the effort but declined to characterise the precise nature of her involvement.

A second group of analysts, led by the National Voting Rights Institute founder John Bonifaz and Professor Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan’s center for computer security and society, is also taking part in the push for a review, and has been in contact with Simons.

In a blogpost early on Wednesday, Halderman said paper ballots and voting equipment should be examined Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, warning that deadlines were rapidly approaching.

“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,” he said.

The developments follow Clinton’s surprise defeat to Donald Trump in the 8 November vote, and come after US intelligence authorities released public assessments that Russian hackers were behind intrusions into regional electoral computer systems and the theft of emails from Democratic officials before the election.

Having consistently led Trump in public opinion polls for months preceding election day in all three midwestern states, Clinton narrowly lost Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and may yet lose Michigan, where a final result has still not been declared.

Curiosity about Wisconsin has centred on apparently disproportionate wins that were racked up by Trump in counties using electronic voting compared with those that used only paper ballots. The apparent disparities were first widely publicised earlier this month by David Greenwald, a journalist for the Oregonian.

However, Nate Silver, the polling expert and founder of FiveThirtyEight, cast significant doubt over this theory on Tuesday evening, stating that the difference disappeared after race and education levels, which most closely tracked voting shifts nationwide, were controlled for.

Silver and several other election analysts have dismissed suggestions that the swing state vote counts give cause for concern about the integrity of the results.

Still, dozens of professors specialising in cybersecurity, defense, and elections have in the past two days signed an open letter to congressional leaders stating that they are “deeply troubled” by previous reports of foreign interference, and requesting swift action by lawmakers.

“Our country needs a thorough, public congressional investigation into the role that foreign powers played in the months leading up to November,” the academics said in their letter, while noting they did not mean to “question the outcome” of the election itself.

Halderman, the University of Michigan computer security expert, noted that this Friday is the deadline for requesting a recount in Wisconsin, where Trump’s winning margin stands at 0.7%. In Pennsylvania, where his margin is 1.2%, the deadline falls on Monday. In Michigan, where the Trump lead is currently just 0.3%, the deadline is Wednesday 30 November.

Senior congressmen including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland have already called for deeper inquiries into the full extent of Russia’s interference with the election campaign.

Nonpartisan experts and academics have been in communication with Democratic operatives and people who worked on Clinton’s bid for the White House, who are being urged to officially request recounts in states where a candidate may do so.

New York magazine reported that a conference call has taken place between the activists and John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Both Podesta and the acting Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Donna Brazile, have privately mused about the integrity of the election result, according to two sources familiar with the conversations.

Several senior Democrats are said to be intensely reluctant to suggest there were irregularities in the result because Clinton and her team criticised Trump so sharply during the campaign for claiming that the election would be “rigged” against him.

But others have spoken publicly, including the sister of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide. “A shift of just 55,000 Trump votes to Hillary in PA, MI & WI is all that is needed to win,” Hema Abedin said on Facebook, urging people to call the justice department to request an audit.

Alexandra Chalupa, a former DNC consultant who during the campaign investigated links between Moscow and Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, is also participating in the attempt to secure recounts or audits.

“The person who received the most votes free from interference or tampering needs to be in the White House,” said Chalupa. “It may well be Donald Trump, but further due diligence is required to ensure that American democracy is not threatened.”

According to people involved, activists had previously urged Jill Stein, the Green party presidential candidate, to use rules in some states allowing any candidate on the ballot to request a review of the result. Stein is understood to have declined, citing in part a lack of party funds that would be required to finance such a move.

In a joint statement issued last month, the office of the director of national intelligence and the department for homeland security said they were “confident” that the theft of emails from the DNC and from Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks, was directed by the Russian government.

“Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company,” the statement went on. “However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian government.”

Asked on Tuesday whether the agencies had confidence that the election itself had been secure, a spokesman for the office of the director of national intelligence said: “Our colleagues at the department for homeland security are best positioned to address this.”

A spokesman for the department for homeland security, however, did not respond to requests for comment.
 
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This is why Ohio switched back from electronic voting to paper ballots. After the perceived desire for cheating by the Diebold corporations leadership, it was better to dispense with the whole possibility of even a perception of foul play. Some did say it was closing the barn door after the horses were out for the Bush election, but at least it's safer now.
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jdyoungca wrote:
There was strong evidence of Russian backed hacking against the Democrats in other areas of the election (eg. DNC emails)


This presupposes that Russia wanted Trump to win. I think this analysis from the Carnegie Centre sounds more plausible: Russian politicians and media cheered on Trump, but the Kremlin actually hoped that he would lose, thus proving the lie of Western democracay:

Quote:
[...] Pro-government experts and foundations made no secret of their support for Trump and simultaneously tried to come up with reasons why America would vote for Trump. The essence of the Russian coverage of the U.S. campaign was that a victory for Trump would be a victory for Russia.

[...]

The catch was that Russian audiences were being prepared for the idea that Trump would be prevented from winning, cheated of his victory despite the support of the common people.[...]

So on one hand, Russian TV viewers hoped that under the good Trump, the United States would stop plotting against Russia, there would be peace on earth, and the new U.S. president would immediately repeal economic and political sanctions slapped on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. On the other hand, TV viewers were being prepped for the announcement of a stolen victory, which would serve as yet more proof that the shortcomings of the Russian electoral system are par for the course, and that fraud and falsifications can be found everywhere.

These constructs do not fit with a Trump victory. The narrative was needed only to reiterate how great a role Putin plays on the world stage, and how cunning and unscrupulous the American elite is. The Kremlin was counting on a Clinton win.
 
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Thanks for the additional info. I agree it would be bad PR and create a giant mess, but holy crap, if this turned out to be real would it not be better to recognize it and deal with it? The alternative is foreign governments deciding who is going to be president rather than US voters.
 
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TheChin! wrote:
This is why Ohio switched back from electronic voting to paper ballots. After the perceived desire for cheating by the Diebold corporations leadership, it was better to dispense with the whole possibility of even a perception of foul play. Some did say it was closing the barn door after the horses were out for the Bush election, but at least it's safer now.


Sounds like a good idea. Hard to hack paper.
 
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jdyoungca wrote:
Sounds like a good idea. Hard to hack paper.
There is still some wiggle room though. All the paper ballots are scanned in to electronic devices, so those could be tampered with, but if you do ask for a recount at least you have the actual ballots to check. The problem is gaming the system (if someone could actually do it) so that you tip the scales enough to sway the election, but not obviously enough to trigger a paper check.
 
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galad2003 wrote:
I like how the left makes fun of conspiracy theories but now they are fully on board.

Well maybe we should investigate it, just to be sure. And if the first investigation doesn't find anything wrong, we'll just have to do a few more. Based on the Republicans behavior, it takes at least 30 investigations to be sure that someone didn't do anything wrong, even if the previous 29 didn't turn up any evidence of wrongdoing.
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sfox wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
I like how the left makes fun of conspiracy theories but now they are fully on board.

Well maybe we should investigate it, just to be sure. And if the first investigation doesn't find anything wrong, we'll just have to do a few more. Based on the Republicans behavior, it takes at least 30 investigations to be sure that someone didn't do anything wrong, even if the previous 29 didn't turn up any evidence of wrongdoing.

It might require several more investigations after that. We all want to know the truth, right?
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galad2003 wrote:
I like how the left makes fun of conspiracy theories but now they are fully on board.
I'm on the left and I am not fully on board.
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I thought this the day after the election. I don't suspect it, I think it. ('Suspicion' implies doubt. 'Belief', in this context, implies something you're going to think regardless of evidence. 'Thinking' implies something arrived at through a preponderance of evidence -- circumstantial, in my case -- and a process of reason.)
 
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TheChin! wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
I like how the left makes fun of conspiracy theories but now they are fully on board.
I'm on the left and I am not fully on board.

And I'm not on the left, but I'm fully on board.
 
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galad2003 wrote:
I like how the left makes fun of conspiracy theories but now they are fully on board.


I've said repeatedly that if you want to hack an election, you do it wholesale by hacking the electronics on the vote counting side, not by getting individuals without ID to vote twice.
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I'm on the left and somebody should be water boarded for this sort of desperate hail mary.
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From a political standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for the Democrats to claim voter fraud. Trump has already proven that facts don't matter, all that matters is being loud and obnoxious. The Republicans are in power and refuse to investigate the possibility of fraud, ipso facto, voter fraud clearly occurred.

As already noted multiple times, Hillary lost because the Democrats didn't show up to vote, so issues like this which energize the base are a positive. As our conservative "friends" here on RSP have been bragging about since November 8th, the ends justify the means.
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The guy asking for the recount wrote a blogpost in his own words of why this is a necessary step (but unlikely to change the outcome of the election)

https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-wa...

It seems to be more about being a deterrent against future vote-fixing than a belief that this election was rigged.
 
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Current suspicions and allusions aside, I think it is ludicrous that we don't have a certified secure and standard voting apparatus for federal elections. In the electronic age, I think more than ever the vulnerability of voting systems is a matter of National Security. With Chinese and Russian "cyber" performing both industrial and political espionage it seems like a no-brainer.
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TheChin! wrote:
Current suspicions and allusions aside, I think it is ludicrous that we don't have a certified secure and standard voting apparatus for federal elections.


AS many have said that isn't really possible for electronic voting. It is however possible to have something a lot better than what many, maybe all, states have.
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It's not possible to have a safe computer based voting system.

Just consider the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal.

Voting should be paper with true "dumb" electro mechanical scanning and tallying with random spot check tallying by human count.

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maxo-texas wrote:
It's not possible to have a safe computer based voting system.

Just consider the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal.

Voting should be paper with true "dumb" electro mechanical scanning and tallying with random spot check tallying by human count.


I agree with my Luddite friend here. (j/k)

Technology, shockingly, is not the solution to everything. If they can hack the cloud and get out Jennifer Lawrence's private nude pictures, they can hack anything.
 
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OK - 538 did an in depth look at the numbers and the allegations in the original story don't appear to hold water.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/demographics-not-hacking...

Fair enough. Nothing to see here.
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