Investigating Russia’s role in interfering and possibly hacking the 2016 presidential election vote is at the center of the Green Party-led recount effort.
The recount entered a new phase on Saturday, when both the Hillary Clinton campaign and Donald Trump transition team issued dueling statements about the need to verify the votes in the three states that gave Trump an Electoral College majority. But beyond their appearances, with Clinton’s campaign saying it would participate in the effort, was a remarkable development: the prospect that recount will try to investigate the biggest unanswered question hanging over the election beside who won: did Russia take steps to hack the vote?
Trump called the recount a “ridiculous” effort by the Green that was fleecing donors of the nearly $6 million raised by midday Saturday. But the statement by the Clinton campaign’s top lawyer, Marc Elias, noted in its opening paragraphs that the election, the Democratic Party, and their campaign was repeatedly targeted by the Russians.
“This election cycle was unique in the degree of foreign interference witnessed throughout the campaign: the U.S. government concluded that Russian state actors were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the personal email accounts of Hillary for America campaign officials, and just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the “fake news” propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election,” Elias wrote on Medium.com, then elaborating their private investigative efforts to assess the impact of Russian interference in the campaign.
Going even further, the first recount petition filed by the Greens, in Wisconsin, primarily focused on Russian hacking, not on the more easily understood line of inquiry of different voting technologies reporting different margins of victory for Trump despite their location.
The Green's petition opens by stating they believe “an irregularity” has occurred affecting the entire state. It goes on to say that in August, “foreign operators breached voter registration databases in at least two states and stole hundreds of thousands of voter records” at the same time the e-mail systems of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign were hacked and put online. It lists warnings by federal homeland security officials to states to take steps to protect these databases, and then lays out its theories. First, Wisconsin’s voting systems are aging and known to be susceptible to hackers, “including they can be breached without detection and even after certain security measures are put in place.” And that may account for “a significant increase in the number of absentee voters compared to the last general election. This significant increase could be attributed to a breach of the state’s electronic voter database.”
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