An interesting election analysis

November 25, 2016

Here’s was an interesting analysis from FiveThirtyEight.com, especially in light of the results announced by Michigan this week – and the fact that Michigan doesn’t use electronic voting.

Demographics, Not Hacking, Explain The Election Results

According to a report Tuesday in New York Magazine, a group of computer scientists and election lawyers have approached the Hillary Clinton campaign with evidence they believe suggests the election might have been hacked to make it appear that Donald Trump won the Electoral College when Clinton really did. The hacking claim appears to be based on concerns about tampering with electronic voting machines. We’ve looked into the claim — or at least, our best guess of what’s being claimed based on what has been reported — and statistically, it doesn’t check out.

There’s no clear evidence that the voting method used in a county — by machine or by paper — had an effect on the vote. Anyone making allegations of a possible massive electoral hack should provide proof, and we can’t find any. But it’s not even clear the group of computer scientists and election lawyers are making these claims. (More on this in a moment.)

The New York article reports that a group that includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and computer scientist J. Alex Halderman presented findings last week about Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to top Clinton campaign officials to try to persuade them to call for a recount. Exactly what those findings were isn’t clear. […]

But in a Medium post on Wednesday, Halderman said the New York article “includes some incorrect numbers” and misrepresented his argument for recounts. He laid out an argument based not on any specific suspicious vote counts but on evidence that voting machines could be hacked, and that using paper ballots as a reference point could help determine if there were hacks. “Examining the physical evidence in these states — even if it finds nothing amiss — will help allay doubt and give voters justified confidence that the results are accurate,” Halderman wrote. […]

I’ll admit that I’ve been pretty curious about how Trump pulled off his victory so I found this pretty interesting because of the rumors about people wanting recounts. I take 538 as fairly reliable non-partisan source – plus if the 538 guys were going to take sides, I doubt they’d take Trump’s.


Here’s a tweet that cuts to the chase from Nate Silver, editor-in-chief at 538.

It brings up an interesting point that I’ve wondered about. Why in the world did the Democrats nominate a person who was under investigation at the time of the convention? D’oh!

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