Trump Fans Have a Plan to Fool Nonexistent Voting Hackers: Vote Late


President Donald Trump’s lawyers’ press conference held at the Republican Party’s national headquarters shortly after the 2020 election we especially remember the strange tonal drool of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But it should also be remembered as one of the earliest iterations of the clumsy effort to tie together seemingly contradictory strains of voter fraud theory: that the election was stolen on election night by voting machines. electronic manipulations – but also later by illegal or false mail – in the ballot papers.

Trump’s attorney, Sidney Powell tent to square this circle.

Voting machines were ‘probably’ used across the country to reverse Trump’s votes in favor of Joe Biden, something ‘we might never have found out if the votes for President Trump hadn’t been so overwhelming in so many of those states that it broke the algorithm that had been plugged into the system, and that’s what caused them to stop in the states where they stopped. It was only after the flood of votes “shattered the algorithm” – you can perhaps hear the sound of computer engineers slapping each other – that the fraudsters came “through the back door with all the ballots of vote by mail”.

Obviously, this all makes no sense, every part of it, as months and years of analysis have repeatedly proven. But there’s something about Powell’s formulation that seems to linger in 2022. halfway approach. Republicans who say they fear the upcoming election will be stolen have found a way to beat the system: only vote at the very last minute to potentially thwart these sneaky hackers/fraudsters/Democrats.

Sign up for How To Read This Chart, a weekly data bulletin from Philip Bump

An iteration of this idea has arisen in Washington state, where every voter votes by mail. There, a far-right GOP candidate for the US House, Joe Kent, encouraged his supporters to wait to submit their ballots until the last day of the campaign.

At an event at Town Hall, Kent advised that people learn “why keeping your ballot until the last day is one of the surest ways to ensure that if there were to be a fun deal…they would have the least amount of time to make said deal amusing”.

State officials quickly rejected the idea. One, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, accurately attributed it to the “lie that’s happening all over the country” – that there is rampant fraud that needs to be tackled.

The same theory has also surfaced in states that have more traditional voting systems. The Philadelphia Investigator reported recently that an ally of Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano compiled a five-part “Plan for Victory” that made similar recommendations aimed at disrupting the alleged theft of an election.

“Build [the election hacker] thinks he’s got the cheat in the bag and no one will notice,” Toni Shuppe wrote, “then overwhelm him for the past hour with a turnout he can’t keep up with.

Then it popped up in Maryland.

“Vote on November 8 as late as possible in the day”, said Macky Stafford, campaign staffer for Michael Peroutka, the Republican candidate for state attorney general. “If everyone could stand in really long queues at 6 o’clock, that would really help us.” In an email sent earlier this week, Stafford repeated the same plan: “Let us all pray that we wait in historically long lines and while we wait in line let other voters know not to vote on paper. only once in the polls: no touch screens!”

These are irrational concerns handled with an irrational strategy, so no rational deconstruction of them is likely to have any effect. But let’s engage in one anyway.

The idea here is that the “hackers,” the people who somehow control what electronic voting machines will output, will be confused by a belated increase in votes for Republican candidates. This presupposes that the hackers are as limited in their time as the voters themselves, that once the polls are closed, the hackers can’t adjust anything – that they track voter turnout, set the number of stolen votes needed to secure victory, then spend their evenings . Then, all of a sudden, a rush of late votes and their plan is turned upside down!

This, like so many other unsubstantiated conspiracy theories in modern America, was largely born out of ignorance of technology. This so-called algorithm, for example, doesn’t have to do anything more complex than set total democrat votes to total republican votes plus one. Of course, the hackers might want to be a little more sophisticated than that, distributing the votes proportionally according to who votes where. But it’s something that 1) could be built into the program right from the start and 2) is not time dependent! Wasn’t the whole thing about 2020 that the vote was slowly being “stolen” over hours and days? The “hackers” would have much more time to influence things than the voters themselves.

Again and this is important: there is no evidence that this is happening, and there are, in fact, various reasons (technological, statistical, logical) to assume that it is not. This all makes no sense, but nonsense that various people seem to take seriously.

It’s not just born out of ignorance of technology, of course. It is also a response to the very human impulse to want to do something to solve a problem that seems urgent to you. People do things like this all the time, taking actions that don’t necessarily solve a problem, but seem to be aiming in that direction. Some people are expected to grab hold of a way to fight the fraud they think is rampant, to empower themselves and their allies against their imagined oppressors.

What this reveals isn’t really anything about the process. It’s the election equivalent of recommending that people wear tinfoil hats to block mind control. Rather, it reveals how deeply these false claims about the election have sunk into the consciousness of some American voters and how irrational these claims have become.

Vote whenever you want. It does not matter. You don’t fool hackers by voting late. You don’t “break the algorithm” by doing this. All you do is make you wait in line.

Comments are closed.