The Slatest

Some Experts See Evidence of Potential Foul Play in Swing State Vote Counts, Others Not So Much

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station at Hazelwood Central High School on November 8, 2016 in Florissant, Missouri.

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton supporters’ shock and dismay on Election Day evolved into grieving in the days that followed. Now, two weeks after the electoral blow, that sense of loss has morphed once again for some into suspicion about the outcome of the vote totals in three fatal swing states—Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. These rumblings are fueled generally by the belief before the election that Russia was actively looking for avenues to manipulate the results (specifically in Donald Trump’s favor) and are underpinned by the understandable frustration amongst activists that Hillary Clinton appears headed to a clear plurality of perhaps two million votes more than Trump in the national popular vote.

This suspicion of democratic foul play, which has largely existed on the fringes, bubbled into the mainstream Tuesday when Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine reported “Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump.” According to Sherman’s reporting, the discussion has reached the upper echelons of the campaign, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias.

Here’s what the vote tally skeptics found:

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 media datarati, however, pushed back hard and fast on what the numbers presented to the Clinton campaign might mean and their significance.