November 30, 2016

"A Dane County judge on Tuesday denied a request... to require all votes in Wisconsin’s presidential election to be recounted by hand...."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports.
The 56 counties who have said they already plan to do full or partial hand recounts, account for about 60 percent of all votes. Another 13 counties, including Milwaukee, are only doing optical scan recounts, and the other three haven’t settled on a plan.

State law sets a high bar for a judge to order a statewide hand recount. The law says the candidate seeking one must give “clear and convincing evidence” that using machines to conduct a recount will produce incorrect results and that there’s a “substantial probability” that recounting the ballots by hand or another method will produce a more correct result — and change the outcome of the election.
The judge, Valerie Bailey-Rihn, said the standard was not met, even though there were a couple experts who tried to cast doubt on the machines:
“A hand recount is going to provide a more accurate result because it will not be affected by any kind of cyber-security attack that might be compromising the voting machines,” testified J. Alex Halderman, a cyber-security expert and professor at the University of Michigan.

Philip Stark, director of the Statistical Computing Facility at the University of California-Berkeley, testified that a statistical analysis of small voting wards in Wisconsin showed numerical anomalies that bear further scrutiny — and could be a sign of malicious attempts to alter the vote totals. The testimony was based on an analysis by Walter Mebane, a statistical expert and University of Michigan professor.
But:
Elections Commission director Michael Haas [testified]... that extensive measures are taken by local election officials to restrict unauthorized people from gaining physical access to the machines. State officials have said those machines are not connected to the Internet, meaning a potential cyber-attacker likely would need to access them in person.

48 comments:

James Pawlak said...

It would have been much better for her to NOT note her personal fellings

traditionalguy said...

But nobody can stop the Martians. They have unworldly secret ways, which are secret.

Henry said...

There are lies, damn lies, and numerical anomolies.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

It seems like it would be simple enough to spot check a couple of the scanning machines, where you take a set of hand-counted ballots and run them through the machine to see if they come up with the same numbers. If you find a difference, then check a larger set of machines. ( after checking, and re-checking the hand-counting numbers using separate teams of hand-counters ).

That difference between scanned and hand-counted totals ( if it existed ) would be the evidence you need to order the state-wide hand recount.

David Begley said...

That "expert" testimony was ridiculous. And who paid them?

Mike said...

Very few news reports on the recount madness have mentioned the fact that the President Barack Obama himself said that the election was fair and there appeared to be no fraud that would affect the results. Guess we don't quote black jesus when it doesn't fit the NYT "narrative."

Mike said...

I used to think of the NYT "narrative" as a metaphorical thing. It's not. The editors map out the narrative they want to tell over the next month, six months and year and every reporter is tasked with funding sources and writing stories to build on that narrative. A reported who used to work for the LA Times, which works like a traditional newsroom with morning meetings where the editors ask everyone whattaya got today? He went to the NYT and couldn't believe how restrictive the topics were and how much the editors and the grand narrative drove every story.

Having killed irony, the left is now out to get the metaphor too.

Mike said...

That should be "tasked with FINDING sources" not "funding" them. Oops.

Fabi said...

The bits of "expert" testimony I've read were anything but. I won't be surprised to see Trump gaining a few thousand votes.

traditionalguy said...

There is something rotten in Dane-mark.

Carol said...

Geez we use the same optical scanner system in Missoula, and test the machines prior to every election. It's a public process and a big pain in the ass.

No one ever shows up to observe except maybe the party chairs for a pro forma looksee.

Michael P said...

On the one hand, computers might be hacked, and things with small sample sets show unspecified discrepancies consistent with random noise. On the other hand, people suffer from fatigue, make mistakes, and have biases.

Anyone who thought those experts had clear and convincing evidence that machines would be less accurate than hand counting needs a refund and a shrink.

PB said...

The ONLY reason the Democrats were so insistent on asking Trump if he would accept the results of the election was because they were likely doing things that could cause the result of the election (a Clinton win) to be questioned. This was why Trump was so vocal about election rigging - to try and communicate that the riggers would get caught and bluff them into underachieving in their criminal activity. This was also why Hillary was so (allegedly) out of control on election night that she couldn't go and make a personal statement.

This small recount effort is a last gasp attempt to paint a Trump presidency with illegitimacy in any way they can. They'll whine that the courts/rules stopped a "proper" recount. They'll whine if WI, MI, or PA don't vote that an majority in the electoral college of less that 270, though sufficient to elect the president, is illegitimate.

khesanh0802 said...

Not to be too cynical, but it seems to me that Halderman is in this for the data. Instead of one or two research assistants he figures he can use the election officials in three states to provide him with data. He is pretty certain the results won't change, and reasonably certain that the chances of a hack are pretty small, yet he keeps appearing as one who reluctantly - reluctantly, I say - is pushing the recount.

damikesc said...

So, Halderman has gone from "The malware would remain dormant until it is needed on Election Day" now thinks the malware was designed in such a way to go active again should a recount be done?

Really?

Without the internet, HOW WOULD THE MALWARE DO SHIT NOW?

Unknown said...

In other words the plaintiffs are full of crapola.

Peter said...

Optical scanning technology is over a half-century old; it's a mature technology and I'd expect the results from it to be more accurate than hand-counting.

Nonetheless, it does seem obvious that if there's any doubt at all, spot-checking a few sites should reveal any problems. AFTER the electors vote.

And in the future, there should be a requirement that challenges to the integrity of voting machines (as opposed to other potential election irregularities) must be made well before the election, as it's too late to fix after an election.

bagoh20 said...

It's pretty easy to test the fidelity of the machines before counting, so that excuse is a lie.

Christopher B said...

Ignorance is Bliss@8:41

If I recall the original hacking contentions correctly WI uses a mix of electronic vote tabulators and optical scan equipment, depending on county. When the various 'experts' talk about statistical anomalies and hacking they are usually referring to comparisons between precincts using paper/optical scan versus electronic tabulation.

I think what they were trying to force was some sort of in-depth examination of the electronic tabulators (I'm not sure if a hand recount is even possible with those but maybe it is). A hand recount of optical scan paper ballots, especially in smaller counties, should be fairly easy as indicated by the number of counties that chose to do one anyway.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Christopher B said...

When the various 'experts' talk about statistical anomalies and hacking they are usually referring to comparisons between precincts using paper/optical scan versus electronic tabulation.

Exactly. So let the experts pick a couple precincts where they feel the optical scan had the largest anomaly, and spot-check those.

Or get a fresh optical scanner from the company, program it to count the bubbles for "Candidate A" vs "Candidate B" based on the position of the bubble on the page, without ever telling the machine which was Trump and which was Clinton. No way that machine knows if it is supposed to cheat for Candidate A vs Candidate B.

The Drill SGT said...

State officials have said those machines are not connected to the Internet, meaning a potential cyber-attacker likely would need to access them in person.

Actually no. A cyber-attacker would only need a mechanism that interacted with the physical machines.

When the Russians hacked the SIPRNET, it was never connected to the Internet, but many nodes allowed Flash drives and CD's that had been used on interneted machines to then interact with SIPRNET isolated machines. Jumping the Airgap. Hence the DoD action to ban flash drives and close SIPRNET Ports.

So in the case of voting machines, you could get to them via a physical interaction by an innocent third party that conveyed the malware, via a maintenance patch, the vote tally mechanism, or some other method.

I don't think any of this happened, but the state officials are naive.

The Drill SGT said...

bagoh20 said...
It's pretty easy to test the fidelity of the machines before counting, so that excuse is a lie.


and it's easy to put a timer on malware that activates it on election day, and if you desire, deletes itself later. Then of course your tally's would differ later, but the cause would be unclear.

mccullough said...

Nothing like conspiracy theorists clogging up the judicial system.

AllenS said...

If you write "666" on your ballot, and then put it through the scanner, Hillary will get 666 votes.

Big Mike said...

State officials have said those machines are not connected to the Internet, meaning a potential cyber-attacker likely would need to access them in person.

Unless the malware was installed at the time of manufacture or during setup. It really depends on how sophisticated the malware is -- it might self-erase (in which case a hand recount would vary and the malware would be caught) or it might only affect a small fraction of the votes on that machine so that a spot-check is unlikely to find anything significant). In a country that's roughly 50-50 between R and D a change of 10% of the R's to D's would be significant.

Note that I am assuming (probably correctly, given the increasing urgency with which Democrats are trying to stymie the recount) that any cheating is in the direction of changing Republican or third party votes to Democrat votes.

protestmanager said...

Wow, J. Alex Halderman is sure working hard to clown himself. His original story was that the software could have been snuck on the machines (via a disk coming from an infected computer connected tot he internet), that it would do teh dirty deed, then wipe itself so it couldn't be found.

Now he's saying ... ?

Big Mike said...

Sorry, I meant a change of 5% R's to D's, which changes 50-50 to 45-55, hence 10%.

Mac McConnell said...

This is just a futile exercise by the Democrats, It will come back to bite them in the ass, like their Senate rule changes on presidential nominees. They fucked up like the media because Hillary Clinton will never be president.

Bruce Hayden said...

Optical scanning technology is over a half-century old; it's a mature technology and I'd expect the results from it to be more accurate than hand-counting.

Definitely that old. I wrote the mainframe interface for the FOSDIC machines (custom built optical scanning machines) for the 1980 Decennial Census (which read Census forms), and my understanding was that they went back to at least the 1960 Census, and maybe even earlier. I was pretty smug about that, having written software that (very efficiently for the time) processed every field of every Census form processed. One of the very few there who could say that. I also wrote the software to convert older raw Census tapes to newer formats, and pretty sure that it was used for at least the previous two Decennial Censuses.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that they were right to deny the hand count. The purpose of demanding hand counting was to deny Trump the electoral votes needed to get over 272, throwing the election into Congress, and delegitimizing his Presidency. Nothing whatsoever with detecting hacking, and everything to do with delaying certification past the deadline.

And, the "experts" couldn't show hacking, because there very, very, likely wasn't any. We know this because people split ballots, and esp. in this election. Looking at the two top spots on ballots (in WI, the races for President and Senator), there was a demographic difference between how working class whites (traditionally Democrats) and upper middle class whites (traditionally Republicans) voted. Working class whites were more likely to vote R/D, while the more traditional Republicans were more likely to vote D or I/R, for the two top spots. In other words, Trump tended to run ahead of the second spot on the ballot in working class white areas, and behind in upper middle class white neighborhoods. The thing is, this trend was fairly consistent throughout the Rust Belt, and wasn't limited to just the three states that the Dems and Greens wanted to recount. And, didn't really surface until right about election time. To hack the machines would have essentially required either that all of the machines throughout the Rust Belt be hacked (very unlikely given the number of states and types of machines involved) in a similar manner AND that the Russians (or whomever supposedly did it) to have recognized the trend beforehand, which Crooked Hillary's and the MSM's best pollsters missed.

Mac McConnell said...

BONUS for Republicans, Nancy Pelosi retained!

Carol said...

traditional Republicans were more likely to vote D or I/R

My, Wisconsin really is different isn't it

paminwi said...

Question: if all these counties do hand counts (think liberal Dane County) and deliberately slow walk the count so they don't meet the deadline for the Electoral College vote does that mean Wisconsin Electoral voters can't submit their votes for Trump?

tim in vermont said...

As much as it will help us next election for her to stay, I would have liked Nancy Pelosi gone.

Yancey Ward said...

That this particular judge denied the hand-recount request, and the fact that Milwaukee County apparently wants to do the machine count supports the theory that Stein didn't request the recount in order to try to flip Wisconsin to Clinton, but rather to determine whether or not her own vote totals reported at the precinct level were accurate. The decision also indicates to me that Clinton didn't join the effort because she is trying to flip these states, but did so in order to be able to exert some control over what is looked at in the recounts.

At this point, I would like to see Wisconsin hand-counted in every single precinct. I am 100% sure it would end with Trump winning- his margin is too large to overcome- but I would like to see if Stein was robbed of some votes in certain counties.

richard mcenroe said...

The voting machines are not on the internet. So we've gone from one Russian hacker sitting in a Moscow cybercafe to Tom Cruise having to rappel down from the skylight of every polling place in Wisconsin to fix the election for Trump.

Sounds likeca Mission Possible for me, your honor...

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hstad said...

I find it interesting that the past recount by Democrats on the Walker election was cited! Democrats should learn a lesson (doubtful) about what goes around comes around. Such morons!

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein

SukieTawdry said...

Jill Stein has become quite tiresome. Now she's kvetching about how Wisconsin will charge three times the original estimate for the recount. Go away, Jill.

Mac McConnell said...

paminwi said...
Question: if all these counties do hand counts (think liberal Dane County) and deliberately slow walk the count so they don't meet the deadline for the Electoral College vote does that mean Wisconsin Electoral voters can't submit their votes for Trump?

One theory is that since the recounts won't be done before the Electorial College vote those states won't vote, therefore denying Trump and Clinton the 270 needed to be President. It will then go to the Republican controlled House to determine the President, Trump will prevail, but Rachel Maddow will drone on about Trump's illegitimacy for four years. It's the same crap the left is spewing concerning the "popular vote", the Trump presidency is somehow illegitimate. We'll get to hear this every time President Trump shatters a Lalique MAGA commemorative crystal dildo in the left's and Media's ass.

Mac McConnell said...

Did I mention, Hillary Clinton will never be president.

JAORE said...

"Jill Stein has become quite tiresome. Now she's kvetching about how Wisconsin will charge three times the original estimate for the recount. Go away, Jill."

She may be kvetching that the tray of leftovers will be skimpier than previously thought.

tcrosse said...

Imagine Hillary's chagrin when the the first female POTUS is somebody else. (If she lives to see it).

Mark said...

A hand recount is going to provide a more accurate result because . . .

More progressive BS that the subjective is more accurate than the objective, that relativism is more true than truth.

Mark said...

Do you all remember hanging chads and loose chads and dimpled chads all being claimed as votes, as well as intact chads where the rest of the ballot was straight party so the voter must have intended to vote the intact chad so it should be counted as a vote too?

Here, the left has already argued that the purpose of a hand recount is to be able to count as votes those ballots where even a faint mark is in the fill-in oval, even though the voter purposely did not vote. The purpose is to create new votes where none were present before. And of course the process will work only one way.

Mark said...

And, no -- one candidate or person does not have the ability to obstruct or overturn a national election by calling for a recount and then "slow-walking" the process. The Wisconsin Republican slate of electors will meet and cast their votes for Trump. That slate of votes will be sent to Congress. They will be counted by Congress.

walter said...

Mac McConnell said...
This is just a futile exercise by the Democrats, It will come back to bite them in the ass..
--
One would hope. Like the recall in Wisco..killing any sympathy that might have been out there.

lgv said...

Please recount. The system was rigged. Jill Stein actually won. That is why she is asking for a recount. Oh? Nevermind.

Trumps margin of victory will likely rise. What no one can adequately explain is how the hack would work and whether one can go a machine and determine if it was hacked. It goes beyond "recounting". One would have to analyze the code.

I would assume there would be a machine validation test that would take place before the machines being used. If the test passes and there is no access via the internet, machines would have to be hacked one at a time. No one would bother unless they were trying to change a local outcome.