In an interview last week, Hillary Clinton was asked by NPR’s Terry Gross if she would contest the election results if the investigation demonstrated collusion to an extent that affected the outcome. I think she should. I’m not sure how this precedent-setting challenge would look, but she should. Here’s why.
1. The Election Was Probably Rigged
The days of cliffhanger challenges to election results almost belong to a bygone era. Gone are the days of spending long hours in front of the television listening to play by play commentary about dimpled or hanging chads. In our technologically advanced age, the human element in the election process is negligible.
Who needs scores of partisan volunteers peering over the shoulders of equally partisan ballot counters? Ours is the age of George Jetson where this onerous human task has been automated. What once took days can now be calculated in a fraction of the time—without the potential for human error.
At least that’s what our election commissions would like us to think. However, even Equifax knows that the promise of information security is only comforting to trusting techno-newbies who don’t understand the lethal power of professional hackers. Any electronic device fitted with the right transmitter and receiver can be manipulated remotely. In fact, even an elementary programmer can tell a machine how to behave in the future. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that electronic voting machines can be manipulated.
Let me take that back. It’s not that they can be manipulated, but they have been manipulated. I wonder how many remember the 2007 New York Times article from which we learned that authorized teams of hackers were able to “access memory cards and use handheld devices to plug false vote counts into machines?”
In fact, a 2010 BBC News report exposed University of Michigan researchers who had developed a way to hack electronic voting machines in India. Further, In 2012 Forbes reported that some voting machines in Democrat leaning Ohio precincts may have had some “software issues” that could potentially effect voting accuracy.
Given the fact that this ability exists, it would only be a matter of time before we would witness it’s impact on a major election. I believe we all witnessed that in the 2016 Presidential election. I don’t have the evidence, but deep in my gut, I am convinced that Donald Trump did not win. Notice that I do not have a qualifier. I’m not saying he did not win “fairly,” I don’t believe he won at all.
Before you think I’m some kind of conspiracy clown spattering around a nonsensical theory, allow me to rally some credentialed folk to my side. You may be surprised to learn that I am in the company of some of the nation’s “top computer scientists,” who after the 2016 election, urged Clinton to challenge the results on the basis that she received “7% fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines.”
Trump had been correct all along. This was a rigged election, and Hillary needs to challenge the results.
2. Our Democracy Demands It
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has “reasonably” concluded that the election results were probably rigged. In fact, Obama’s administration was well aware that our system had been compromised by deviant operatives with ties to “Russia.”
Additionally, the Mueller investigation is slowly revealing the troubling extent to which high ranking members of the Trump team enthusiastically cooperated with this plutocratic sabotage. I have no doubt that enough people in positions of authority know what really happened, but they are cautious to speak out because they wish to protect our precious “democracy.”
Things like this happen in so called “third world” countries. In fact, we do things like this to those countries. It can never be done to us! Our systems are too sophisticated for these shenanigans. If one of our political parties wishes to affect the outcome of an election, we would just use legally ambiguous primitive methods like gerrymandering. We’re too tech savvy to be hoodwinked by technologically advanced sabotage.
To admit that such a dastardly act could even take place on our soil would be an acknowledgement that we are as foilable as any other nation. Such a possibility would make us as human as the rest of humanity. It would diminish our super state status and illuminate the chinks in our glass armor.
Perhaps it’s time for us to admit that the global classroom is one in which the roles of teacher and student are continuously transferable. We need to admit that there are many things we can learn from others about the nature of democratic systems.
For starters, it behooves us to sit at the feet of our Kenyan sages, whose Supreme Court just presented a master class on what “separation of powers” really means in a democracy. Unfortunately, our justice system has been so corrupted by extreme ideological partisans, that it will take a Divine miracle for them to acknowledge that the system was rigged in favor of the unstable man whose fingers are so dangerously close to the nuclear codes.
Even with this uphill battle, I would still want Hillary to contest the results. Perhaps, this can be the catalyst for election reform.
3. The Ballot System Needs Reform
Every professional criminal knows that there is less chance of getting caught if you minimize evidence of your presence from the crime scene. In addition to wearing precautionary rubber gloves and absorbable cotton, she or he may even exercise extra care by wiping down surfaces to eliminate the tiniest DNA fragment that could be the first evidentiary crumb for a cold case sleuth.
If those of us who suspect that our system was manipulated are correct, I’m sure that the manipulators have been much more efficient in covering their tracts than the people in the White House currently involved in hiding potentially incriminating evidence of present activities.
Sadly, we may never get the hard evidence needed to establish what happened to a reasonable degree of satisfaction. My skepticism is based on my own experience with the voting process. Like many others, I’m provided a paper form with the pre-printed names of the candidates.
Under the watchful eyes of casually observing monitors, I then find a private spot to shade in my selections. From there, I go to the electronic scanning machine and feed the ballot into the slot. Almost immediately, my choices are reflected on the electronic screen and I am asked to confirm. Once done, I return my bacteria-laden pencil to the box, and am presented a first-grader-like “I Voted” sticker before leaving the area.
That’s pretty much it. I have to trust that whatever I put on the paper and saw on the screen is exactly what will be tallied and recorded. The problem is, I don’t trust the system. I don’t know if my vote will ever count. Once I vote, why is there no printed receipt so that I can have a personal hard copy of my voting decision?
Better yet, why doesn’t the ballot machine produce a time stamped print out of my vote that will then be placed in a tamper proof ballot box? This simple procedure would ensure that challenges could be easily dealt with by ensuring that the hand counted paper printouts tally with the machine count.
Unfortunately, this option is not available for the 2016 election. Nonetheless, I still believe that Hillary Clinton needs to officially challenge the results. If sabotage can be proven by other means, I believe this country will be much better served by another President Clinton than a President Trump.