Tags: conspiracy theories | bad math | fuel | rumors | rigged election

Slate: Conspiracy Theories, Bad Math Fueling Rumors of Rigged Election

Image: Slate: Conspiracy Theories, Bad Math Fueling Rumors of Rigged Election

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By    |   Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 10:08 AM

Chalk up Hillary Clinton's shocking loss to faulty polls and bad math predicting a landslide win in the first place, but all the rampant conspiracy theories about a rigged election are not supported by any facts, a Columbia University professor wrote for Slate.

The screaming headline about computer scientists having "strong evidence election was rigged against Clinton in three states" has been spreading like wildfire this week.

Bunk, says Andrew Gelman in Slate.

"Calling these outcomes 'statistically suspicious' or 'mathematically insurmountable' doesn't actually mean they're incorrect or the result of any kind of foul play," Gelman wrote.

Further, one of the computer scientists quoted in different outlets, said this about his quoted stance of an alleged rigged election: "somebody else's description of my views," wrote J. Alex Halderman.

"Were this year's deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked," Halderman wrote.

Halderman, instead, is on a quest to inform and warn of the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of voting machines, he wrote.

Gelman dismisses the notion that Trump's better-than-expected performance in Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania is some kind of alarm for malfeasance.

Rather, Trump's performance "distracts you from noticing that Trump performed particularly well, both compared to Mitt Romney in 2012 and to the 2016 polls, in many of the most Republican states in the nation (North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming). Candidates don't have to perform the same ways in all states, but the lack of accusations of rigging in the states where Trump won handily (and also performed better than was predicted) show that the basis for these accusations is more perceived unfairness than actual statistics."

However, Gelman, like Halderman, believes more needs to be done - random audits - to ensure the integrity of elections.

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Chalk up Hillary Clinton's shocking loss to faulty polls and bad math predicting a landslide win in the first place, but all the rampant conspiracy theories about a rigged election are not supported by any facts, a Columbia University professor wrote for Slate.
conspiracy theories, bad math, fuel, rumors, rigged election
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2016-08-23
Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 10:08 AM
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