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Hack or Hoax: recount may be hitting a dead end

by Kayla Green - Staff Writer
Tue, Dec 13th 2016 12:00 pm

 Party candidate Jill Stein proposed a recount of the three key rust belt states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Her idea is sitting well with many people. 

Originally, the Stein party's goal was to raise $2 million to pay for the recounts and they have already met and exceeded that goal. They then set a new goal of $4.5 million, met that and now have a goal of $7 million. 

This idea came to the Stein party when reports came in from cyber experts that saw possibilities of security breaches in the results of the election. University of Michigan's voting scientist Alex Halderman and voting rights activist John Bonifaz notified the campaign that Clinton fell 7 percent lower than expected in counties who use electronic voting machines. 

President-elect Donald Trump won Wisconsin by 27,000 votes and Pennsylvania by 60,000 votes, which, although being small margins, still aided him tremendously in exceeding the required 270 electoral votes. Michigan, however, is still too close too call, two weeks after the election. 

Trump's win of these huge state's definitely largely contributed to Clinton's loss, but people are getting more and more suspicious as Clinton's popular vote lead over Trump continues to rise. She currently has over two million more popular votes than Trump and the votes are still being counted. What many people are wondering is, what will Stein get from strongly supporting this recount? 

According to  The Hill article, "What Stein is getting from recount" by Ben Kamisar, in a recent interview on Fox Business Network, Stein described herself as the representative for the "frustrated, cynical and disappointed voters" who were "disgusted by the process of this election." 

According to CNN's article "Jill Stein, liberals seek voting hack investigation" by Tom Foreman, Tom LoBianco and David Gracey, she is not leading this movement strictly for Hillary Clinton, but rather mostly to expose just how corrupt the U.S. election system really is. 

This movement by the Green Party may be a smart one according Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston political scientist. 

"It's politically smart for the Green Party to show they are an aggressive, progressive wing of the Democratic Party. The Democrats have largely ceded this progressive territory, so the Green Party can demonstrate that they are fighting for the spirit the progressive Democrats would embrace," Rottinghaus said. 

Critics of the recount say that they are completely reasonable explanations for Clinton's surprising losses in the three Rust-Belt states, mostly dealing with demographics. 

One analysis of the recount on the Silver FiveThirtyEight website, "Demographics, Not Hacking, Explain The Election Results" by Carl Bialik and Rob Arthur says, "There's no clear evidence that the voting method used in a county — by machine or by paper — had an effect on the vote." 

Although I am just as suspicious of the election results as many people are, I have to lean towards agreeing with Bialik's point. Reading his article thoroughly, it is clear that the people claiming the voting was hacked just don't have enough evidence to back this statement up. Bialik and his team even did an investigation of the voting process and format in the three states with controversy and their findings show that there is no consistent pattern of higher amounts of votes for Trump on electronic voting machines. 

I wanted to believe that this claim could be true, but it just seems a little too far fetched. I do, however, give Stein and the Green Party huge props for standing up for the many people who have distrust in the election system and helping them to get the reassurance they need. 

As Kamisar states in his article, many Democrats are "shrugging" the recount off simply because it is likely to not going to make a difference, and I have to say I am one of those people. Even if the voting was hacked, there is still a very slim chance that it would account for enough votes to make Clinton president. 

However, if there were in fact enough votes to make her president, not only would history be made, but the public's distrust in the government would be higher than ever before. 

According to The Associated Press' article, "The Latest: Stein Calls Trump's Recount Objection 'Shameful'", as of December 1, recounts have begun for Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but Trump's file for an objection to Michigan has delayed their original Friday start time. 

Trump says that Stein is requesting an "expensive, time-consuming recount on the basis of nothing more than speculation."

 

kgree4@brockport.edu

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