Hillary May Have Won and Election Audits Might Have Revealed the Truth
On November 9 Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote yet lost the Electoral College delegate-selection race to Donald Trump. Though Trump won most of his states by wide margins, three of his declared victories — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida — were by knife’s-edge margins – 0.3 percent in Michigan (12,000 votes), 1.0 percent in Wisconsin (27,000 votes), and 1.2 percent in Pennsylvania (68,000 votes). Florida went for Trump a sliver more: 1.3 percent (120,000 votes). Had Clinton won any three of these states she would have won the Electoral College race and with that the White House.
She actually may have won. Here’s the reasoning.
All four states have long histories of voter suppression, vote manipulation, vulnerable voting-systems with no paper trails, and take-no-prisoner politics. Election shenanigans, hacked voting machines, “mistakes” in reporting, and in recent years systematic interstate voter-suppression programs, have an unmeasured but possibly 2 percent or greater effect on victory margins.
For instance, in the 2000 Florida race the Secretary of State stripped the names of between 50,000 and 100,000 minority and other likely opposition voters from the rolls, and other irregularities may have added tens of thousands of votes to her favorite’s margin. In Ohio in ’04 several hundred thousand votes appeared to have been flipped. In 1960 the Daley machine reputedly delivered the national election by beefing up the vote in Chicago. The history of election fraud in the U.S. is long and illustrious.
We’re still collecting evidence of irregularities in this election, but anecdotal reports are troubling. Enhanced voter I.D. requirements and stripping from the rolls had a potentially large and disproportional effect on Democratic-leaning minorities and low-income voters, as did poll closings in the inner cities. Pennsylvania uses paperless touchscreen voting machines and there were reports of Clinton votes being registered for Trump (and the reverse), and of course these machines are easily hacked, which is invisible. We don’t know yet if minorities were given provisional ballots disproportionately, but many of those are never counted because of minor differences between the voter’s information on the ballot envelope and the county’s records. In Michigan a net change of two or three votes per polling place would have flipped the outcome, and the above methods could easily do the trick.
But tricks like those are just politics, you might say; everyone plays the game that way.
Here’s the problem — for all of us — with continuing to play the game that way:
If partisan election administrators are motivated and able to reduce their opponents’ margins by large numbers of votes, how can we be sure that smaller margins actually reflect the true vote count? How can we be sure that they represent the true outcome?
We can’t be.
It is possible that Trump remained behind in the “true” vote in those states, in spite of the late anti-Hillary surge, and that manipulation put him over, thus giving him those Electoral College delegates. Unless insiders spill the beans, however, we will never know, because there is no independent way to verify the results.
In other words, when an election is very close, the outcome may be correct but we can’t be sure. As a consequence, then there will always be a hint of illegitimacy and the occupant of the office will remain unfairly under a cloud.
If the outcome is incorrect, however, and the wrong candidate took office, then someone is getting away with fraud.
Given the present election system, therefore, we have no choice but to pretend that imaginary numbers represent reality. In close elections we must install Presidents and other officials who we cannot be sure actually won their elections.
If you supported Trump you may not mind today’s situation – you are probably enjoying the fact that he is occupying the office and exercising power in your name. If we don’t fix the system, however, tomorrow a Democrat could win under the same circumstances, and the shoe would end up on the other foot.
We need to fix this problem. Americans need a way to independently verify that every citizen’s vote was counted accurately and that every citizen entitled to vote was permitted to vote. Only thus can we remove this uncertainty and, with justice, ask the losers to respect the legitimacy of the winners. We need independent, third-party audits of our elections.
Independent audits of elections would provide the evidence needed to:
- Credibly inform the public of discrepancies and suspicious results;
- Enjoin certification of suspicious election results before results are certified as final, candidates sworn in, and evidence destroyed;
- Demand full forensic investigations of the causes of discrepancies; and
- Identify deprivations of constitutional rights and provide the basis for legal action against individuals engaged in suppression of voting rights.
The system exists to do this.
Democracy Counts, a California nonprofit tech startup, has developed mobile apps and processes to independently audit elections in real time and to quantify the effects of voter suppression. Anyone — Republican, Democratic, Green, et cetera — can run audits to make sure that their opponents are playing by the rules, and to take them to court if they’re not.
The political stakes in the 2018 mid-term elections will be very high. We need to have a way to verify that the official results are the true results. It is time to do the hard work to verify that our election systems are working properly and that the candidates who take office, at all levels, are the candidates who genuinely won their elections.
We need a new voting rights movement.
For more information please contact:
Daniel H. Wolf, Esq., Executive Director,
Mail: 1339 W. Pennsylvania Ave., San Diego, CA 92103, USA
Version date: Novem