Academics and activists across the country are asking U.S. authorities to audit the 2016 presidential election vote in battleground states, where the race was closest, in case the results have been skewed by foreign hackers. Auditing would analyze a small sample of votes in these states to ensure no tampering occurred and confirm whether there is a need for a further recount.
In an op-ed in USA Today, UC Berkeley statistician Philip Stark and MIT cryptographer Ron Rivest argue that an audit should be conducted. Part of their concern is the fact that the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency concluded the Russian government was behind the DNC email hack, and that it was Russian hackers who attacked U.S. voter registration databases, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Verified Voting, a nonprofit that advocates for transparent elections, along with several other groups, created a Change.org petition calling for an audit of the election due to these hacking concerns. As of now, over 180,000 people signed the petition.
Dozens of professors specializing in cybersecurity and elections have also signed an open letter to congressional leaders requesting action by lawmakers, The Guardianreports.
A new Twitter hashtag, #AuditTheVote, appeared on Nov. 19. One of the hashtag’s creators, Melinda Byerley, explained on Twitter that its purpose was to collect public information and data that could verify or disprove the possibility of election fraud and hacking.
Despite election results that shocked many in America, not many Americans believe the election results were tampered with. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 33 percent of Clinton supporters and just 1 percent of Trump supports believe Trump isn’t the legitimate winner of the election. Although Trump won over the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton leads the popular vote by over 2 million.
While an audit would be more time-saving and less costly than a complete recount of all of the votes in states that request it, based on public opinion, it is unclear how necessary it is. Nate Silver, a famous statistician who founded the publication FiveThirtyEight, tweeted to say he thinks election tampering is pretty unlikely. The Electoral College is set to officially elect Trump as president on Dec. 19.