Re-Count…

jacob_leupold_counting_fingers_table_year_1727Donald Trump is complaining loudly about recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, calling Hillary Clinton a hypocrite for having lambasted his pre-election refusal to accept the election results if they weren’t favorable. That might seem like a reasonable argument at first, but it is actually a bad comparison. Stating preemptively that the election is “rigged” and implicitly stating that you would not accept an unfavorable result is NOT the same as asking for a recount in a few key states where there was a very narrow margin of victory and where there is a concern over system security with regard to vote tallies. Not to mention that Hillary appears to have won the popular vote by over two million – which Donald Trump attributes to people voting illegally, despite the fact that there is no evidence or indications of illegal voting.

The security issue was raised by a group of computer scientists that noticed an anomalous disparity of voting margins between areas in the three aforementioned states where voting systems were susceptible to attack or hacking versus those areas where there was no threat. This is not proof of hacking; it is not even evidence. It is an anomaly, that might indicate hacking, maybe. These experts suggested a recount due to the potential for interference and the narrow margins of victory in these states. Also recall that the Intelligence Community stated that Russia had hacked into and subsequently released Hillary Clinton’s private emails, which was most likely intended to impact our election process. So while this may seem unlikely, it isn’t that far-fetched a scenario that there could have been manipulation of the vote.

Ultimately, it is not in Donald Trump’s best interest to name-call or otherwise argue about the recount. If the count reinforces the current vote tally then he loses nothing, and the populous has higher confidence in the election process. If the recount demonstrates a different result, and possibly even reveals direct evidence of electronic tampering, then we are able to take action to prevent such tampering in the future. Also, it demonstrates that we can identify an issue and get an appropriate count manually, even in the event of electronic tampering, which ought to also instill confidence in our elections process (even if not in some of the technical apparatuses). Donald Trump should embrace this opportunity for a verification graciously, as  there is really nothing to be lost for the US in having a recount of these three close states.

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