According to mainstream news outlets, Joe Biden is the president-elect while President Donald Trump’s legal challenge to the vote count of several states is a fool’s errand based on no credible evidence. Is that true, however?
Over the next few days and weeks, we will be in a better position to answer that question. In the meantime, The Jewish Press spoke with Bruce Abramson, to learn his opinion on allegations of voter fraud.
Abramson has a JD and a PhD in computer science and is a co-founder of Jexodus and a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press’s op-ed pages. He earned his doctorate doing statistical analyses and simulations in artificial intelligence and has published numerous technical articles on probability and statistics.
The Jewish Press: Many people think this election is over, and Trump’s claims of election fraud shouldn’t be taken seriously. What’s your position?
Abramson: People who make that claim are either trying to cement Biden’s victory or have a weak understanding of evidentiary processes.
Trump’s legal team, which is headed by Rudy Giuliani, claims the technology used to count ballots on November 3 – Dominion Voting Systems – was both faulty and insecure and therefore could easily have been (or actually was) manipulated by Democrat operatives. Is this claim credible in your opinion?
I haven’t examined the software myself, so I can’t comment on whether it’s credible, but every allegation that I’ve heard is technically feasible. Perhaps the best description of problems with Dominion came from Sydney Powell, another member of Trump’s legal team, in interviews with FOX’s Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs.
In response to Bartiromo’s question about an IT specialist’s allegation that the Dominion system contains a back-door patch enabling remote access, Powell said, “They can stick a thumb drive in the machine or load software to it. Even from the Internet – they can do it from Germany or Venezuela even. They can remote access anything. They can watch votes in real time. They can shift votes in real time.
“We’ve identified mathematically the exact algorithm they used and planned to use from the beginning to modify the votes, in this case to make sure Biden won…. They can do anything they want with the votes. They can have the machines not read the signature. They can have the machines not read the down-ballot. They can make the machines read and catalog only the Biden votes.”
Again, I have no specific experience with the Dominion system, but it is absolutely feasible for a system designer to hide a back door granting remote access. Anyone given such remote access could indeed “do anything they want with the votes.” Whether Dominion contains such a back door is a factual question that Powell either will or will not prove in court.
But the allegations are all feasible from a technical perspective. And I say this not from my perspective as a Trump supporter, but as someone holding a PhD in computer science.
The bottom line is that vote manipulation is a well-known technique practiced around the world. And any software like Dominion that traces part of its coding back to a country like Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela is suspect.
Many conservatives last week noted that Democrats voted in an unusually large numbers in cities like Detroit and Milwaukee compared to other major cities like Cleveland, for example. They claim this statistical anomaly is an indication that something fishy took place. Do you agree?
I wrote an article last week about statistical anomalies in this election with the help of Robert Kozma, an emeritus professor of mathematics and a data-mining expert.
Statistics alone cannot prove fraud. What they can do is determine when something deviates from expectations. Data from past elections, and from cities with comparable demographics and historical voting patterns, tell us what we should have expected to see in Detroit and Milwaukee. That we saw something different tells us that something “interesting” happened in those cities.
Statistics can’t tell us whether or not that interesting occurrence is problematic; anomaly detection is more a matter of where to focus fraud investigations rather than whether fraud occurred.
In addition to their arguments relating to technology used in this election, Trump’s legal team is arguing that courts should throw out hundreds of thousands of ballots in Pennsylvania and Michigan because no Republican was allowed to observe as these ballots were being counted. What do you make of this argument?
There’s nothing new under the sun. Notwithstanding the mantra that “election fraud is rare,” it really isn’t. Most of it isn’t litigated or detected, but enough of it is, so there are precedents for courts to follow.
I heard Giuliani tell FOX’s Maria Bartiromo that Pennsylvania has precedent that’s directly on point and that he’s merely asking Pennsylvania’s courts to do what they’ve done in the past. I heard him make comparable statements about Nevada.
If this question reaches the Supreme Court, we might end up with a national standard. But given that at least some states have tossed ballots that were counted with insufficient oversight, the argument is at least reasonable.
Trump was leading comfortably on the night of November 3 when the counting stopped. When the counting started again on the morning of November 4, he suddenly was losing. Many people find this overnight shift suspicious. Do you?
This question goes back to my statement about statistical anomalies. Anything that violates expectations warrants further inquiry. These halts and resumptions were certainly non-standard. Curious? Absolutely. Suspicious? Maybe. Problematic? Not without concrete evidence of a problem.
But, again, anomalies tell us where we are most likely to find problems, errors, and fraud.
People who raise questions about the election are being called conspiracy theorists by Democrats and even some Republicans. In your estimation, is believing that mass fraud took place a loony position or a reasonable one?
Conspiracy theories arise, not because people ask questions, but because of the nature of their answers. Americans are not stupid. They know that their leaders in politics, the media, academia, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood, etc. have been lying to them.
Here, they’re being told that despite numerous oddities and anomalies in voting patterns – and after four years of hearing that foreign powers have interfered in past elections –only a lunatic would wonder about the anomalies.
The folks claiming only a lunatic would inquire about fraud are used-car salesman denigrating a customer who wants to pop the hood. Every rational person should be skeptical of the reported results. A deep dive into the evidence should either dispel that skepticism or prove that it’s warranted.
What should readers expect to see in the next two weeks?
A series of court battles that will work their way to the Supreme Court.
Once things get to the Supreme Court, the justices will focus intently on the specific facts and legal arguments before them and will issue a procedural ruling about some narrow Constitutional point.
Almost no one in the country will care about whether the ruling makes sense, seems right, or incorporates a good rule for the future. What they’ll care about is how it applies to the present case. Will it exclude as fraudulent enough votes or elections to keep Trump in the White House? Or will it ratify enough challenged votes for Biden to preserve his lead?
Various outcomes are possible. The Court can strike down individual votes and leave elections in place. It could also decide that some state elections were too fraudulent to be saved and hand the decision to state legislatures and to Congress, as Alan Dershowitz has noted.
Either way, I expect 2021 to be a dangerous year for America’s Jews. The mobs we’ve seen rampaging through American cities will either feel empowered (with Biden in the White House) or enraged (with Trump in the White House). I expect the next wave of riots to be more violent than the previous wave and, as with all mobs, Jews loom large as potential targets.
That situation is exacerbated for Orthodox communities who understood that President Trump is a friend and protector – and who voted for his reelection in stunning numbers. That, unfortunately, is a repeated theme in Jewish history – a king or nobleman protects the Jews, whom the peasants then attack as agents of the king.
Watch also for the tension between Orthodox communities and the mainstream Jewish organizations to accelerate.