On Wednesday morning, J. Alex Halderman — one of the computer scientists encouraging the Clinton campaign to request recounts — defended his case in a post on Medium. In that piece, Halderman does not mention the Wisconsin data, and distances himself from some unspecified “incorrect numbers” in Sherman’s report.
Rather, Halderman argues that an audit is warranted because our voting system is far easier to hack than most people realize. In other words, he contends that the risk of a hack is so high, the mere discrepancy between the polls and the Election Day results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan is enough to justify a recount:
America’s voting machines have serious cybersecurity problems. That isn’t news. It’s been documented beyond any doubt over the last decade in numerous peer-reviewed papers and state-sponsored studies by me and by other computer security experts … I’ve demonstrated this in the laboratory with real voting machines — in just a few seconds, anyone can install vote-stealing malware on those machines that silently alters the electronic records of every vote … It doesn’t matter whether the voting machines are connected to the Internet. Shortly before each election, poll workers copy the ballot design from a regular desktop computer in a government office, and use removable media (like the memory card from a digital camera) to load the ballot onto each machine. That initial computer is almost certainly not well secured, and if an attacker infects it, vote-stealing malware can hitch a ride to every voting machine in the area.
The vulnerability of our system, combined with Russia’s alleged involvement in pre–Election Day hacks, leads Halderman to this conclusion: