The New York Times reported back in August that the Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, asked the F.B.I. on August 29th to investigate evidence suggesting that Russia may try to manipulate voting results in the November election. On October 7th the US Intelligence community released a joint statement saying the Russians were responsible for hacking the emails of the DNC. But so far, the US intelligence community has not acknowledged that Russians attempted to manipulate the vote. The New York Times article provides some of the evidence.
The FBI has evidence foreign hackers stole voter registration data.
Recent classified briefings from senior intelligence officials, Mr. Reid said in an interview, have left him fearful that President Vladimir V. Putin’s “goal is tampering with this election.”News reports on Monday said the F.B.I. warned state election
officials several weeks ago that foreign hackers had exported voter registration data from computer systems in at least one state, and had pierced the systems of a second one.
The bureau did not name the states, but Yahoo News, which first reported the confidential F.B.I. warning, said they were Arizona and Illinois. Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona’s secretary of state, said the F.B.I. had told state officials that Russians were behind the Arizona attack.
Reid notes that Russia would only have to manipulate the vote in a few swing states to impact the election.
Mr. Reid argued that if Russia concentrated on “less than six” swing states, it could alter results and undermine confidence in the electoral system. That would pose challenges, given that most states have paper backups, but he noted that hackers could keep people from voting by tampering with the rolls of eligible voters.
The four swing states below have come under suspicion because of the difference between the polling average and the vote totals. The first column is electoral votes, second is the probability of victory according FiveThirtyEight, third is the polling average as reported on FiveThirtyEight, fourth is the percentage of votes as reported on RealClearPolitics. The vote in the Electoral College is Trump 290, Clinton 232. In each state, Trump out performs the polling average substantially and by just enough to win.
EV %V Polls Votes
Florida 29 C 55.1 C1.3 T1.4
Michigan 16 C78.9 C4.1 T.3
Pennsylvania 20 C77 C3.9 T1.3
Wisconsin 10 C83.9 C5.9 T2.6
There is one point I have not heard anyone discuss publicly. If the Russians were going to try to manipulate the vote, as Harry Reid feared, their efforts would be less detectable if they also engaged in a counterintelligence program such as hacking the DNC emails. If they did not use a counterintelligence program and simply manipulated the vote, then it would be more difficult to explain variations between the polls and the vote without appealing to manipulation. But if attempts to manipulate the vote are combined with counterintelligence programs intended to make Democrats look bad and help Trump win, then variations between the polls and the vote can be explained by Trump’s late charge at the polls, or women feeling guilty about voting for Trump, or hidden doubts about Clinton. The fact that the Russians hacked the emails of the DNC, which is acknowledge by the US intelligence community, could therefore serve as evidence the Russians may have been interested in providing cover for efforts to manipulate the vote.