Since Trump’s upset victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the president-elect has dropped all mentions of poll tampering or election fixing occurring.
However, some still speculate that Russia’s prominent influence in the 2016 election with leaks and hacks may have extended all the way to the voting booth.
RELATED: Obama and Putin’s awkward meetings through the years
FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama, right, talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, prior to a session of the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The tide of global rage against the Islamic State group lends greater urgency to ending the jihadisâ ability to operate at will from a base in war-torn Syria. That momentum could also force a reevaluation of what to do about President Bashar Assadâs future and puts a renewed focus on the position of his key patrons, Russia and Iran. (Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency via AP, Pool, File)
G8 leaders from center rear clockwise, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a working session during the G-8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Yves Herman, Pool)
FILE – In this June 18, 2012, file photo President Barack Obama and Russiaâs President Vladimir Putin, left, go to shake hands during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. In a few days’ worth of opportunistic diplomacy, Vladimir Putin has revived memories of an era many thought long gone, where the United States and Soviet Union jostled for influence in a Middle East torn between two powers. Whatever happens with its proposal to relieve Syria of chemical weapons, Russia reemerges as a player in the region _ and one who does not easily abandon allies. That’s meaningful in a region where America’s dumping of Hosni Mubarak has emerged as a seminal moment _ and it may resonate with Iran, whose leaders are carefully watching the global chessboard as the clock ticks toward another showdown, over their nuclear program.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
While there is no concrete evidence of Russian hackers physically accessing voting machines, it remains an alarming theory that could explain why pollsters were so off on 2016 election projections.
The argument was laid out in a post on Medium this week, which provides some evidence that may raise eyebrows of Clinton supporters.
Why were our internal and public polls so unprecedentedly off the mark? Think-pieces have struggled to answer with ideas like “voting patterns have changed” (don’t they always?) or Conway’s “shadow supporters” purposefully misleading pollsters. But maybe the explanation is both crazier and much simpler. Maybe Russia, continuing their well established patterns of tipping elections and quietly toppling governments (see: Ukraine, entire Cold War), in line with their clear preference for Trump, took advantage of electronic voting and simply hacked a few key vulnerable counties in Wisconsin, PA, and FL to take out a historically anti-Russian Clinton in favor of Trump. The narrative writes itself but is meaningless without a smoking gun. A series of twitter-connected local journalists may have found one, and basic statistical testing can easily disprove or verify it.
The machines most susceptible to hacking are the direct-recording electronic voting machines — electronic touch-screen machines with no verifiable paper trail. In an effort to show how thinly protected they are, one device at Princeton was recently turned into a Pac-Man video game without breaking any “Tamper Evident” seals.
Additionally, as the Medium post notes, “In paper ballot counties Obama won in 2012, the ballot county losses are 1–2 percent. However in counties Obama won in 2012 that are purely digital, she lost by 10–15 percent.”
Still, the theory that Russia hacked the election is flimsy at best because of one crucial missing piece: voting machines aren’t internet-connected devices.
All Russian attacks during the 2016 election cycle came from abroad, therefore requiring an internet connection to complete the hack.
If the mass hacking were to have proved successful, Russian sleeper agents would have been needed in election offices, polling places and at voting machine company offices.
Whether the theory of a Russian election hack stands up to scrutiny or not, Russian president Vladimir Putin now has a U.S. counterpart in President-elect Trump, who has noted he hopes to pursue more amenable policies with the former USSR.
RELATED: Photos from that time George W. Bush went fishing with Putin
U.S. President George W. Bush, right, looks on while visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin holds up his catch during an outing at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, Monday, July 2, 2007. On Tuesday Putin and President Bush with his father, former president George H.W. Bush, roamed close to the shoreline around the Bush family’s oceanfront estate for about an hour and a half. Later President George W. Bush acknowledged that Putin was the only one who caught a fish, but Putin called it a “team effort.” (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service, Mikhail Klimentyev)
Former President George H.W. Bush, left, and his son, President George W. Bush, right, react as fishing guide Billy Bush helps Russian President Vladimir Putin to unhook his catch during an outing at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, Monday, July 2, 2007. On Tuesday Putin and Bushes roamed close to the shoreline around the Bush family’s oceanfront estate for about an hour and a half. Later President George W. Bush acknowledged that Putin was the only one who caught a fish, but Putin called it a “team effort.” (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service, Mikhail Klimentyev)