A group of election lawyers and prominent computer scientists have reportedly asked Hillary Clinton’s team to consider a recount in three crucial swing states—Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—that were won by Donald Trump.
New York’s Gabriel Sherman reports that the group may have found “persuasive evidence” that the election results might have been messed with.
The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.
The group of concerned citizens (members reportedly include voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society) has yet to speak on the record about these concerns. New York also reports that they spoke to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias about their concerns in a meeting last Thursday.
While this sounds like a rare bit of good news for those dreaming of a Clinton presidency, it’s not quite so easy. In order for Clinton to win the Electoral College, she’d have to overturn the results in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and win Michigan in the recount. Further complicating matters are the “faithless electors,” members of the Electoral College who don’t vote for their party’s candidate in their states; at least six of the electoral voters this election have stated that they won’t vote for Trump, despite the fact that he won their states. That alone isn’t enough to change the vote, but it does add an extra layer of complexity here.
If Clinton decides to do this, she’s running out of time.
According to one of the activists, the deadline in Wisconsin to file for a recount is Friday; in Pennsylvania, it’s Monday; and Michigan is next Wednesday. Whether Clinton will call for a recount remains unclear. The academics so far have only a circumstantial case that would require not just a recount but a forensic audit of voting machines.
It’s a nice thought, to be sure, given the horror that we face in a Trump administration. But it feels like a long shot at best and sadly, nothing more.
This post has been updated.