2016 Election: It Ain't Over Yet
As they say, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” With most elections, it’s over when the defeated opponent concedes the election (with the notable exception of Al Gore in 2000). But this isn’t most elections, and Hillary Clinton isn’t your average candidate; for that matter neither is Donald Trump. During my lifetime I can’t think of two candidates with higher unfavorable ratings, both vying for the same office at the same time.
So the votes were tallied, and Trump appears to have taken the Electoral vote by a wide margin (although Michigan still hasn’t been “awarded”), while Hillary, did well in the larger states, and took the popular vote. Once again we were treated to video footage of disgruntled voters who evidently didn’t pay attention in school when they were supposed to be studying government, and who seem to believe that we live in a pure democracy instead of the representative republic the founders gave us in 1791.
Hillary seemingly took the news calmly although witnesses behind the scenes say that she flew into a drunken rage when it became obvious that she wasn’t going to win, which is why she didn’t put in an appearance until the next day, and that she only conceded the election then because she received a call from the President telling her to do so.
But there are concessions and there are concessions. Hillary has lived and breathed this all her life. It is her due. And she has had it taken away from her not once, but twice.
She lost the first time to Barack Obama in the primaries, and while that surely rankled, how can you complain about losing to the first Black president in U.S. history. Ok, she had to wait for eight years – game on! Then she loses to Donald Trump. Donald Trump! Her perfect dream adversary! The world turned upside down!
I have been waiting since then for the other shoe to drop. It has seemed impossible to me that Hillary would give up so easily what she has waited her whole life to achieve. I have stated multiple times that I will believe Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States after he is sworn in on 20 January 2017.
The shoe has dropped. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, who received a whopping 1% of the vote, somehow managed to raise millions of dollars on a “GoFundMe” page to have the vote recounted and, with a half hour to spare, filed for a recount in Wisconsin. She is also filing for a recount in Pennsylvania and Michigan. And Hillary Clinton’s campaign, not surprisingly, is standing four-square with her “to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” even though they claim that they don’t expect the action to overturn Trump’s election.
The first state that will be recounted will be Wisconsin, a state Trump won by 1% over Clinton, and where Stein came in dead last behind Johnson at 1.1% of the vote. A recount will avail her what? On the other hand, Trump only won by 27,257 votes. A Clinton victory in a recount is not outside the realm of possibility. Particularly in a state that hasn’t gone Republican since Ronald Reagan.
Jill Stein, at 30,980 votes barely received more than the delta between Trump and Clinton. But who knows? Perhaps she can pull a few more. Not that it matters – she would have to make up nearly 76,000 votes just to catch her nearest opponent, Gary Johnson, at 3.6%. In what universe would those votes come from Donald Trump and not Hillary Clinton?
Then again, all the votes would be recounted, not just those that might benefit Stein. So Johnson’s vote would likely change as well. Any increase there likely would impact Trump. And who knows what gains Clinton would make.
It’s a time honored tradition for Democrats. How many uncounted votes will be found in the trunks of cars? How many votes can be thrown out for whatever reason? It didn’t work for Al Gore in Florida in 2000, although he certainly gave it the old college try. When they tried to rewrite the rules on the fly in order to ensure victory, the Supreme Court got involved and ruled that they couldn’t change the election rules after the fact. This has ever-since been seen by the Democrats as the Supreme Court “inserting” itself into a national election and “giving” the election to the Republicans.
It did work for Al Franken when he first ran for the Senate seat in Minnesota. After three recounts, each one insisted upon and financed by Franken, he finally achieved victory over Norm Coleman by 312 votes. It took eight months but hey – the results are what counts, right? And of course, after achieving victory, his lawyers then went to court to ensure the final recount would be the last.
Actually, Stein wasn’t dead last; behind her were a couple of "also ran's" - Rocky Roque De La Fuente with a total of 1,561 votes, and Monica Morehead at 1,781. It is likely that other votes were cast as write-ins as well; Mickey Mouse is a perennial protest favorite across the country. According to the Wisconsin Election Commission, Rocky has also filed for a recount. Why not? Stein is paying for it. And having two candidates file gives more political cover to Clinton.
So are we going to be treated to another round of Florida-style hanging chads and groups of people trying to divine how a particular voter really intended to vote, while hordes of lawyers wait in the wings examining the process and filing briefs?
Well, the hordes of lawyers will no-doubt be present. However this is sixteen years after 2000, and many of our election systems have moved from paper ballots to electronic ones. Here in Bexar county Texas, a “recount” consists of pushing a button on the electronic voting machine, which then spits out a paper tape that looks much like the receipt you get at the grocery store. Except all it contains is the total vote tally for each candidate for that particular box. That’s it. Then someone, I guess, adds all the numbers up and a total is reached. There are no ballots to examine, no guess work involved. You just have to make sure that the totals are accurately recorded, that none are left out or counted twice (or more), and that no extraneous paper tapes are inserted into the process.
Of course, there are absentee ballots to be counted, and those no-doubt, will be subject to interpretation and legal maneuvering to get at least some thrown out that benefit one major candidate or another. In 2000 Al Gore managed to get absentee ballots from the military thrown out due to the absence of a postmark – typical for naval absentee ballots where sometimes you are lucky if your mail makes it off the ship in time and where niceties like postmarks are frequently omitted. The military predominately votes Republican so if you are a Democrat and the race is close, getting those military votes disqualified is a key to victory.
Then there are the electronic votes. What happens if the machine spits out a paper tape that is different from the one it disgorged on election night? Here is Jill Stein’s reasoning as to why, with only 1% of the vote, she feels it necessary to pony up millions for a recount.
“After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable. These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”
So Ms. Stein isn’t doing this because she believes that she might somehow pull off a victory. She is doing it for the most altruistic of motives – to find out if our election results can be trusted. And to do this, she picked three states with the narrowest of Trump victories; states where if the vote can be overturned, the election results will flip and Hillary Clinton will be declared the winner.
Coincidence? I think not. She could just as easily have proved her point by selecting California for a recount. Except of course that Hillary won there handily so why bother? Besides, we probably don’t want to pry too deeply into the California vote where the voting chicanery is of a very different, pro-Democrat sort altogether. California is a state where by law you can’t ask for voter identification, where it has been deemed “racist” to question whether a voter can legally cast a ballot, and which has a very high population of illegal residents, all of whom are highly motivated to illegally cast ballots in the Presidential election. But of course, there is no proof that any one of those fine upstanding undocumented citizens (as I heard them referred to in TV interview a few weeks back) actually did so, and no one is trying to gather any proof that they might have done so – at least not on any sort of scale that would have over-turned the election.
Of course, there is no proof that there was any election fraud in any of these races either, but why should that stop anyone from inquiring. If the election had gone the other way, and Ms. Clinton was the one doing the victory lap, would Jill Stein still be interested in the possibility that the vote may have been tampered with? Unlikely.
So I return to the question, what if the machine spits out a tape that differs from the original?
Again, I can only speak of the machines I know here in Texas. There is no paper trail. There is no way of knowing who voted for whom. There is only a final vote tally. I would presume that should the paper tapes for a particular machine differ, that a lawyer could go to a judge and demand that the results for that particular machine be thrown out, as the vote had obviously been tampered with and there was no way of verifying the results. And I would expect that a judge would comply with that request. They would have to, wouldn’t they, in order to ensure that the election results were “reliable?”
So imagine that we cherry pick the precincts, where Trump won heavily. And we discover that some of the machines don’t match up. And we get those machines thrown out. How many machines would we have to throw out before we got the election results changed?
But so what? If the vote tallies differ, then they should be thrown out, right? Isn’t that evidence of tampering? Doesn’t that mean the vote has been “hacked?” As Ms. Stein stated, we deserve elections we can trust, right? Of course, it all depends on when the hacking occurred, who did it, and what their motives were. And we are unlikely to discover any of those things with any sort of reliability.
The fact is that ever since we have moved to electronic balloting systems without any sort of paper trail, we have in fact moved to a balloting system that we cannot trust. We have traded hanging chads for electronic bits that cannot be examined. Anyone with physical access to the system can change the results. Heck, the software can change the results, and no one would be the wiser. Have those boxes been under 24x7 guard since the election? How about before the election? Have the guards been under guard? Has anyone vetted the software?
Are voting machines “hackable?” You bet! All you need is physical access to the machine. With some, you don't even need that, since some folks think it a good idea to equip machines with WI-FI and/or hook them to the Internet.
Everyone is worried that the Russians might have hacked our election. Unless the boxes were foolishly attached to the internet that would pretty much be impossible. Of course, were they attached to the Internet, anyone could have hacked them, including members of both political parties. But the Russians are a good foil – after all, the media “reliably” reported that Putin and Trump are BFFs, right?
It is interesting that quite a few of our voting machines in this country are produced by companies owned by George Soros. It would be interesting to see who the people are that have been contributing to Ms. Stein’s GoFundMe page. Are these people concerned moms and pops from across the country contributing their $25 a pop, or are there some very large blocks of money changing hands here. None of this is covered by the campaign contribution laws. The stakes are very high here and any money over and above what it costs for the recounts, Ms. Stein gets to keep. Lots of potential for payola here.
But we all know that Ms. Stein has the purest of motives here, right -to keep Mr. Trump from taking office? Surely that is something that we can all get behind; after all, he lost the popular vote, right? The will of the American People must not be thwarted; Ms. Clinton must be president! After all, she said she would accept the results of the election, but clearly the election results must be incorrect, so therefore there is nothing inconsistent in her saying on the one hand that she would accept the results and in her campaign on the other hand joining with Ms. Stein’s recount petition “to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”
There are two fat ladies tuning up in the dressing room. Which one will finally emerge for the finale is anyone’s guess at this point. Logic says it should be Trump’s, but based on past experience with Democrats and close recounts, the stage could very well end up belonging to Hillary.
Very good voting machine Hacking Article: