US election recounts campaign—citing hack attacks—raises $3M in one day [Updated]

Jill Stein seeks “election integrity” in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Update, November 24: As of 10am EST on Thursday, Stein’s campaign had raised more than $3 million—a new goal to raise $4.5 million by Friday has now been set.

Original story (November 23)

Citing the dangers of hacked voting machines, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said on Wednesday that she intends to raise more than $2 million by Friday to initiate vote recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

“After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual e-mail accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable,” Stein said. “These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”

In her statement, Stein claims that some election machines used in Wisconsin were banned in California because they were “highly vulnerable to hacking and malicious reprogramming.”

The statement describes the US election as being “surrounded by hacks,” but it’s unclear exactly what hacking is being referred to. High-profile hacks of the Democratic National Committee did take place during the campaign, leading to news articles based on e-mails sent by Clinton associates.

However, there’s no evidence that votes or voting machines in any of the three states Stein has targeted were subject to hacking. Despite that, Stein’s campaign has already raised more than $700,000 from those who are interested in double-checking the three states’ ballot totals.

Stein says her Green Party campaign is in a good position to be “election integrity advocates” because she doesn’t have “a personal conflict of interest in the outcome.” Stein’s campaign won 1.1 percent of votes in Wisconsin, 1.1 percent in Michigan, and 0.8 percent in Pennsylvania. Preliminary vote totals show Republican Donald Trump won all three states, beating Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by a 1 percent margin; in Pennsylvania by 1.2 percent; and in Michigan with a slimmer 0.3 percent lead.

Her move comes after discussions related to computer hacking took place between members of the Hillary Clinton campaign, election attorneys, and computer scientists including J. Alex Halderman. Following reports of that call, Halderman published a blog post explaining his view that election hacking remains a real danger, even on election machines not connected to the Internet. Halderman writes:

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.

The deadline for filing for a recount in Wisconsin is Friday, and running a recount in that state alone will cost $1.1 million.

An article today in The Hill lays out just a few of the many problems with the theory that Wisconsin’s election was altered by hacking. Clinton’s totals line up similarly with the 2014 losing Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Wisconsin has 1,800 election municipalities, many of which have multiple voting machines. And with no Internet connection, those machines would need to be hacked in person. Finally, any potential hacker would have presumably wanted to account for the 200,000 votes that Clinton was expected to win by, according to the final polls.

Wisconsin’s Elections Commission says the state uses 90 percent optical-scan ballots, 5 percent hand-count paper ballots, and 5 percent DRE voting machines with a paper trail.

Via: Ars Technica