Posted on Nov 24, 2016
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As my family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, I knew that we’d be talking about whether to recount the presidential election results.
Jennifer, my daughter, is all for it and is enraged that major news outlets have been ignoring the story. Nancy, my wife, is outraged, too. She and Jennifer sent contributions to Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s recount campaign. John, my son-in-law, is adding his opinions, as are granddaughters Anabelle and Lila.
There will be no arguments over politics at our Thanksgiving dinner table. All of us were for Hillary Clinton. But I’m afraid I’m the old naysayer in that I don’t share their outrage, my mind encrusted with caution after decades as a mainstream journalist. My experience has taught me to be skeptical: Beware of conspiracy theories. The election is over. Quit mourning. Move on to resisting President-elect Donald Trump.
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She has raised more than $4 million in an amazingly short time to finance recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. She said, as the British newspaper The Guardian reported Thursday, that there was “compelling evidence of voting anomalies” and “significant discrepancies in vote totals” released by state authorities. “These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust,” she said.
Warnings about election-rigging were raised throughout the campaign. Much of the concern was stirred up by Trump, who had warned of a “rigged” election and suggested he may not recognize the results if he lost. While he was engaged in his disruptive tactics, the Democratic National Committee’s computers and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta’s computer files were hacked, American intelligence agencies claimed, by the Russians.
I’ve reported on some of the fears being raised.
On Oct. 7, I wrote in a Truthdig column, “Vote-counting systems are antiquated and often poorly run … this adds up to investigations and lawsuits alleging miscounted votes and fraud, stretching beyond Election Day and making doubters even more skeptical of the results … even people who don’t buy the conspiracy theories are alarmed.” An organization called Election Justice USA alleged that hackers installed algorithms (a set of instructions) in vote-counting machines to increase Hillary Clinton’s vote and to deny Bernie Sanders the Democratic presidential nomination. It issued a report, “Democracy Lost: A Report on ohe Fatally Flawed Democratic Primaries” and collaborated on another report, “An Electoral System in Crisis.” The Election Justice USA website is tracking the Stein recount effort.
Concern grew, although it didn’t make it into the mainstream media. On Oct. 26, I reported on Truthdig about the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reforms’ hearings on possible vote-rigging. Most experts told the committee they didn’t think anyone could change the presidential vote. One dissenter was professor Andrew Appel of Princeton, who has studied the tampering of voting machines. He explained how someone could reprogram individual voting machines to change votes.
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