You can always count on The First Street Journal, and me, to ask the brutally direct questions:
The question no one has guts to ask: If Russian intervention changed election result, did they do us a favor by stopping @HillaryClinton ?
— Dana Pico (@Dana_TFSJ) December 11, 2016
Twitter limits posts to 140 spaces, so I’ll clarify the question here: If a covert Russian operation changed the results of the 2016 elections, did they do the United States a favor by preventing the election of Hillary Clinton?
I do not know if the Russians ran any covert actions aimed at our elections — though I’d be surprised if they didn’t — nor do I know if any covert operations they did run changed the outcome. My guess is that the outcome wasn’t changed, because Mrs Clinton was such a poor candidate that she depressed voter turnout disproportionately among the groups on which the Democrats count. If the pre-election polls were to be believed, Katie McGinty would be preparing to become the next Senator from Pennsylvania; instead, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) won re-election. The Democrats in general had strong, reasonable hopes to retake control of the Senate, but they didn’t come close. However, though my guess is that the election results were not altered, I do not preclude the possibility.
There is, of course, a solution: voting machines should not tabulate votes, period, but simply produce a legible paper ballot which can be read with an optical scanner, and the ballots retained in the event a recanvassing is required. The paper ballots should be clear enough that the voter can verify his ballot before turning it in.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.