Computer scientists call for recount in swing states
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Computer scientists call for recount in swing states

Democratic contender took 7% fewer votes in Michigan counties that used electronic voting, raising cyberattack fears

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event, Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event, Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Computer scientists are urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign team to demand a probe of voting in the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania because they suspect they were hacked or otherwise manipulated.

According to a New York Magazine report Tuesday, the academics found that in Wisconsin, Clinton received seven percent fewer votes in counties where electronic voting machines were used, compared with those that employed paper ballots and optical scanners. Based on those statistics, they say, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes. She lost Wisconsin by 27,000.

Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes have not been allocated to either side yet because the result was so close. To overturn Trump’s victory, Clinton would need to take Michigan along with Wisconsin’s 10 Electoral College votes and Pennsylvania’s 20.

Current calculations give Trump 290 Electoral College votes against Clinton’s 232.

On Thursday, the scientists — among them the director of Michigan University’s Center for Computer Security and Society, J. Alex Halderman, and voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz — alerted Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and the campaign’s general counsel, Marc Elias, to the trend.

Illustrative: In this July 25, 2016, file photo, John Podesta, Clinton Campaign Chairman, speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Illustrative: In this July 25, 2016, file photo, John Podesta, Clinton Campaign Chairman, speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Although the group had not found actual evidence of hacking, they urged the Clinton team to call for an independent inquiry.

More than 140,000 people have, meanwhile, signed an online petition calling for an audit of the election votes.

The deadline for challenging the election is Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania and Wednesday in Michigan.

A forensic audit of voting machines would be needed in addition to a recount.

Clinton’s presidential campaign was plagued by leaks of Democratic Party emails allegedly hacked by Russian government agents to discredit the Democratic candidate and help Donald Trump.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations accused Russia of hacking the email accounts and passing the data onto Wikileaks — a charge denied by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But it found no clear link between Russia and Trump.

In this Nov. 3, 2016, photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the University of Cincinnati. (AP/John Minchillo)
In this Nov. 3, 2016, photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the University of Cincinnati. (AP/John Minchillo)

In a separate move, at least six Democratic electors, mainly supporters of former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, said they would try to block Trump from winning an Electoral College majority on December 19 and to persuade others to follow suit, Politico reported Tuesday. The electors want to get rid of the Electoral College, through which US presidents have been elected for 228 years.

The rebels are considering an attempt to persuade Democratic electors to oppose Clinton and to join Republicans to smooth the way for an alternative, consensus president such as Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

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