When the prospects of securing a victory in the race for the White House appeared slim for Donald Trump, he pursued an unconventional, undemocratic line of rhetoric to challenge the loss. He declared that the election was going to be rigged. Did he have evidence of this? No. Did any reliable political scientist believe this would be true? No. But, Trump peddled the theory regardless, fueling a media firestorm for weeks over whether the Republican candidate would willingly accept the results of the election. Trump eventually came around on the matter, saying that he would accept the results, however he offered the subtle caveat that he would only do so if he won, which confused most Americans and the media that was covering the situation.
While it was Trump who was gearing up to challenge the election results upon defeat, political scientists and voting-rights attorneys are now claiming that Hillary Clinton has legitimate grounds to do so. New York magazine broke the story earlier this week, writing that “the group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.”
According to their findings, Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that had relied on electronic voting systems rather than the traditional, manual option. They do not, however, assign blame to hackers; rather, they are calling for an independent review of the phenomenon. Given that there were rumors of Russian interference in U.S. election systems, their request seems warranted. The group has presented the findings to the Clinton campaign team, yet it is still unclear as to what the ramifications will be.
If results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan (the tally is still not final there) were to shift in Clinton’s favor, she would secure enough Electoral College votes to win the election. The group presenting these findings believes that this is certainly a possibility, given the narrow margins by which Trump won each of these states.
Other statisticians, however, including the renowned Nate Silver and Nate Cohn, have disputed the findings, arguing that controlling for race and education levels in the results removes the discrepancy.
Individuals on social media are urging the Clinton campaign to request an audit of the November vote, however it remains to be seen whether they will pursue this issue and potentially flip the results of the election.
What do you think? Does Clinton have solid grounds to dispute the election?