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Jill Stein, Legal and Computing Experts Question Election Results, Call for Action

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 14:42
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    Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is among the chorus of questioners calling for a recount of the 2016 election results. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

A number of sources, including a team of computer scientists and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, are claiming that the results of the Nov. 8 election were affected by tampering tactics of various kinds.

As everyone who witnessed the 2000 U.S. presidential contest knows, this isn’t the first time that results of an election have been challenged. But while some doubts about the outcome of balloting in 2016 could be fanned for political reasons, at least one association of concerned citizens, which counts computer scientists and voting-rights advocates among its ranks, is claiming to base its call for a recount on hard data. The Guardian elaborated on Wednesday:

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.

… 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.

The U.K. news source added that not all of the are seeking to challenge Donald Trump’s status as president-elect, and that certain of Clinton’s campaign officials are “ntensely reluctant to suggest there were irregularities in the result” because their side had sharply criticized Trump for his campaign-trail forecasts of a “rigged” election. Truthdig readers who tuned into last Thursday’s “Live at Truthdig” episode on Facebook might have caught investigative reporter Greg Palast’s comment that the reluctance on the part of some DNC officials to look into election-tampering claims may also have to do with similar accusations they also faced around the time of the Democratic primary last June.

Stein on Wednesday added her voice to the chorus of those calling for a close examination and possible reevaluation of the 2016 tally:

Jill Stein, the Green party’s presidential candidate, is prepared to request recounts of the election result in several key battleground states, her campaign said on Wednesday.

Stein launched an online fundraising page seeking donations toward a $2m fund she said was needed to request reviews of the results in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Stein said she was acting due to “compelling evidence of voting anomalies” and that data analysis had indicated “significant discrepancies in vote totals”.

This Friday is the deadline for recount requests to be filed in Wisconsin, and other state cutoffs follow soon thereafter.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

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