More election security experts have joined Jill Stein’s campaign to review the presidential vote in battleground states won by Donald Trump, as she sues Wisconsin to secure a full recount by hand of all its 3m ballots. Half a dozen academics and other specialists on Monday submitted new testimony supporting a lawsuit from Stein against Wisconsin authorities, in which she asked a court to prevent county officials from carrying out their recounts by machine. … Professor Poorvi Vora of George Washington University said in an affidavit that hackers could have infected vote-scanning machinery in Wisconsin with malware designed to skew automatic recounts as well as the original vote count. “It is not possible to determine with certainty the absence of malicious software hiding within what might appear to be many thousands of lines of legitimate software code,” said Vora, who added that the only way to ensure the integrity of the count was a recount by hand. … Arguing that a manual count of paper ballots was the only way to ensure there had been no outside interference, Professor Ronald Rivest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology quoted the Russian proverb made famous by president Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.” “We have learned the hard way that almost any computer system can be broken into by a sufficiently determined, skillful, and persistent adversary,” said Rivest.
Professor Dan Wallach of Rice University said it was “entirely reasonable” to suspect that a foreign adversary was capable of a sophisticated and targeted attack on the American electoral process. “They know about battleground states,” he said. Wallach cited the US-Israeli hacking of Iran’s nuclear program to argue against skeptics who insist that voter machines cannot have been hacked because they were not connected to the internet. “The Stuxnet malware for example was engineered specifically to damage nuclear centrifuges in Iran even though those centrifuges were never connected to the internet,” said Wallach.
Other experts pointed to more prosaic reasons for holding a full recount by hand. Professor Philip Stark, director of statistical computing at the University of California, Berkeley, said that Trump’s winning margin in Wisconsin of about 22,000 could “easily be less” than the errors frequently made by the optical voting systems used in most counties, which scan paper ballots marked by voters.
“To determine whether the reported winner actually won requires verifying the results as accurately as possible, which in turn requires manually examining the underlying paper records,” said Stark, who wrote a newspaper op-ed with Rivest calling for a review of the election before Stein announced her recount efforts.
The group who filed affidavits in support of Stein on Monday also included Douglas Jones, an associate professor at University of Iowa, and Harri Hursti, a Finnish expert on the hacking of electronic voter machines.