CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–November 23, 2016
Anti-Trump rally, Los Angeles, CA
Concerns continue to rise regarding the legitimacy of the 2016 United States elections, which gave us Donald Trump, the new president-elect. In the past, fraud concerns like this might have been been considered sour grapes, silliness, and conspiracy theories. But this was not an ordinary election and Donald Trump is not an ordinary candidate.
On election night, when most of the world expected to see the the first woman became a U.S. president, the ballot results came rolling with win after win going to a man — who blatantly lies, incites violence, commits fraud, bullies the disabled, sexually molests women, files bankruptcies, has thousands of lawsuits against him, boasts about not paying taxes, appoints misogynistic white supremacists and witch-hunters to top positions, and choses an anti-choice/anti-LGBT vice president who believes in LGBT conversion therapy and swears he’ll take Roe v. Wade to the “ash heap, where it belongs.” No, this is no normal president-elect and many around the country remain in disbelief, with some terrified.
A Washington Post–ABC News poll found that “18% of voters — 33% of Clinton supporters and 1% of Trump supporters — think Trump was not the legitimate winner of the election.” Months before the election, stories began emerging with concerns about the possibility of election hacking. The number of articles continues to grow as the nation’s popular vote rises in favor of the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who now has approximately 1.8 million more votes than Donald Trump. Last week UC Berkeley statistician Phillip Stark and MIT professor and cryptographer Ron Rivest called for an audit to double-check and ensure hackers didn’t manipulate our American election results. UC Berkley News reports Stark and Rivest, who are both advisors on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, argue that there are good reasons to conduct a “risk-limiting” audit of the presidential election.
In that USA Today piece, Stark and Rivest write:
“There are reasons for concern. According to the director of national intelligence, the leaked emails from the DNC were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” The director of national intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency concluded that the Russian government is behind the DNC email hack and that Russian hackers attacked U.S. voter registration databases.”
Stark and Rivest go on to write that “the national results could be tipped” by manipulating the vote count in a relatively small number of jurisdictions — a few dozen spread across a few key states.” They add that the vast majority of local elections officials don’t have the adequate resources to detect or defend against cyber attacks.
With over 130 million votes cast in the 2016 election, the scholars say “even without hacking, mistakes are inevitable. Computers can be misconfigured and and software can have bugs.”
Some might think Democrats are just sore losers. But that theory doesn’t hold water when a prominent Republican lawmaker like Senator Lindsey Graham is the first to call on Congress to investigate the chance of election cyber attacks by Russia. Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and a lecturer at Harvard University. He wrote an apprehensive piece in the Washington Post back in July.
“Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack. But while computer security experts like me have sounded the alarm for many years, states have largely ignored the threat, and the machine manufacturers have thrown up enough obfuscating babble that election officials are largely mollified.”
Schneir says we need to ignore the machine manufacturers who make “spurious claims” that everything is secure.
“Longer term, we need to return to election systems that are secure from manipulation. This means voting machines with voter-verified paper audit trails, and no Internet voting. I know it’s slower and less convenient to stick to the old-fashioned way, but the security risks are simply too great.”
A petition via the non-partisan, non profit election transparency advocate Verified Voting Organizatin is calling for election officials to double-check the results via a risk-limiting presidential audit, is circulating online. Over 155,000 people have signed it so far. Here is the petitions’s text:
The FBI determined some months ago that hacking, originating from Russia, was having an influence on our electoral process. These hackers interfered with our presidential election through attempted and successful penetration of email and voter registration databases, among other systems. This created fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the safety of our electoral processes.
Computers tabulated the vast majority of the 129 million votes cast in the presidential election, and polls were wildly off. Did hackers manipulate the results by compromising voting equipment? Did other problems, glitches, or errors affect the outcome?
There’s a simple, relatively inexpensive way to find out: audit the electronic results against the paper ballots used by about 75% of U.S. voters.
American democracy depends on public trust of our electoral process, and public trust requires a trustworthy process.
Please sign to demand that election officials double-check the electronic results by conducting a “risk-limiting” audit of the presidential election in every state that uses paper ballots.
Verified Voting Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit organization that advocates for public policy that promotes accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections. We believe the integrity and strength of our democracy relies on citizen’s trust that each vote be counted as cast. Our primary concern lies in ensuring that the means for verifying election outcomes are in place and used for that purpose. We also focus on the reliability and security of voting systems. We connect those who are making and implementing policy that shapes how we vote to those who understand the particular risks associated with the emerging digital landscape, particularly on-line and electronic voting.
So why aren’t more of our Democratic leaders talking about this and calling for an investigation? If Hillary Clinton had won the election, the GOP would have started impeachment proceedings and a plethora of investigations before she even finished her acceptance speech. These are incredibly important concerns, which Americans deserve to have addressed immediately. Why are traditional media and many Democratic leaders remaining passive on this? Is it because we don’t want to look ridiculous like Donald Trump who swore the elections were rigged? Is it because we don’t want to sound like conspiracy theorists? Why would we care how we are perceived if we’re seeking justice and democracy and ultimately trying to save lives? Why would we care how we look if we can prevent the human suffering of innocent people who might be arrested, tortured, and possibly killed for the way they look — or what they say?
Right now, Republican extremists own the Oval Office, the House, the Senate and they have made it more than clear the intend to gain majority in the Supreme Court. To many, the thought of this extremist regime being sworn in terrifying. The time is now to investigate/audit and leave no doubt in the minds of the American people that all of our votes counted and that democracy is served. Now, more than ever.
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