Experts tell Clinton to audit votes in 3 swing states, refusing to give up on 2016

It’s hard to accept the fate of the 2016 election, which is why some people are really excited that electoral college experts have told Hillary Clinton to audit the votes in three key swing states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Computer science and electoral college experts recommended that Clinton reexamine the ballots there, just in case the machines were hacked for president-elect Donald Trump.The group had a conference call with John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager, and told him all about their statistical analysis that shows the Democratic candidate got 7 percent less votes in counties that used electronic machines as opposed to those that used paper ballots and scanners.

Doing the math (at least in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, since Michigan is still too close to call), Clinton might have missed out on around 30,000 total votes. In Wisconsin, according to New York mag, she lost by 27,000 votes. Clinton supporters (and anyone hoping that this whole Trump presidency is a terrible nightmare) are excited about this. By current tallies, Clinton has won the popular vote by 2 million votes. An audit of the ballots could help her get the Electoral College votes she would need to oust Trump.

Right now, Trump has 290 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232. Michigan’s 16 votes aren’t included yet in that tally, so she would need to overturn Pennsylvania to get those 20 votes, Wisconsin’s 10, and then hope she gets the Michigan votes, too. Interesting, right?

Not so fast, though. J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan who was on the call, wrote a post on Medium refuting the way the group’s findings have been presented in the media, because the headlines miss a lot of the nuance and caveats the group actually discussed with the campaign.

The experts did tell the Clinton campaign to audit the ballots based on their fears that a cyber attack was possible and would have actually been pretty simple, according to his explanation. That hackers managed to gain access to DNC emails this summer (and over, and over, and over again this fall) shows this. But there hasn’t been any evidence that a hack of the electronic voting machines allowed Trump to win, and what’s worse is that no one is very like to initiate a recount. Halderman writes:

“The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence —  paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.”

In Wisconsin, the deadline is this Friday. Pennsylvania has until Monday, and Michigan until next Wednesday, so people will have to move quickly. However, that’s unlikely because politics in America is terrible, and Democrats and Republicans are intent on this smooth transition of power, white supremacists notwithstanding. Then again, go right ahead and call for an audit if you feel the urge — can’t hurt, right?

Hangers-on are also hoping for some “faithless electors” in the Electoral College on Dec. 19, when the election is actually decided. Already, there have been reports of six members pledging to vote against Trump. The electoral process is complicated, and it’s certainly frustrating that a candidate could win the popular vote and lose the election.

I understand the temptation to fight for an audit — but that will drag this shit out even longer than it already has. Then again, if the Electoral College decides to go rogue next month, it would be a welcome Christmas miracle.