Normally, I would never talk about politics, and this story will not be an exception. However, the analogy here is too good for me to pass up.
Let’s say that we are going into an election. One of the candidates Mr. T (I pity the fool), has continuously stated that everything has been rigged against him. The problem I see with this is that whether this is true or not, the seed of doubt has been sown. The people who choose to believe that “someone” is out to get them are now primed and ready for the claim that “The election has been hacked.”
There is an excellent article by Steve Ragan about the feasibility of actually hacking an election, but to summarize it, the probability of actually changing the outcome of a national election is very, small.
Without going into the details of the attack mechanisms (you can read about them in the article cited above), lets dive into the probabilities. While we like to think that when we cast our vote, and that the actual vote makes a difference, in truth the outcome of the election is decided by the Electoral College.
While it may be possible to hack an individual voting machine, especially those that use Direct Recording Electronics (DRE) used in Florida, hacking the Electoral College is not electronically possible. The votes are collected by hand on paper, thus avoiding the possibility of remote hacking. In order to possibly change the result of an election, you would have to hack enough voting machines to swing the results of the popular election (not a simple task) and then have that capture enough electoral votes to create an absolute majority (270).
In a normal election year, there is usually a fairly clear picture of which candidate is leading “in the polls” – another thing that Mr. T claims is rigged. This year, it appears that the result of this election will be a crap shoot. I believe that this is a perfect set up for a huge mess come November 9th. Remember the election in 2000 and the hanging chads? The statement “The election was hacked” is going to make that look like a cake walk.
In the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor was persuaded that the special suit he was given would be invisible to people who were unfit, stupid or incompetent. He then went out parading in his birthday suit and all the towns people say what a wonderful outfit he is wearing. A child finally speaks the truth, that the emperor is naked.
In my story, I think that we need to be the children and say loudly that the election is not hacked, the polls are not rigged and the system actually works. It remains to be seen how many townspeople are out there.