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Computer scientists urge Clinton to challenge vote in three states

A group of election experts have approached Hillary Clinton about possible election hacking in three key states, US media reported. Some have voiced concern over the report, saying the claims lack statistic evidence.

Computer scientists and election lawyers lobbied Hillary Clinton to call for vote recounts in the key states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to US media reports.

The group, which includes voting rights attorney John Bonifaz and computer scientist J. Alex Halderman, say they found a suspicious pattern in voting results from electronic voting machines in those states, reported "New York Magazine" on Tuesday.

USA Präsidentschaftswahl in Wisconsin (Getty Images/D. Hauck)

Experts said electronic voting machines could have been hacked, pushing a Trump victory

Although the group did not find concrete proof of manipulation or hacking, they argued that the results merit a review - particularly in light of the Democratic National Committee hacking which the US government has blamed on Russian-backed hackers.

In Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that primarily used electronic-voting machines compared to other counties which used a paper vote and scanning procedure, "New York Magazine" reported citing the experts.

The group reportedly called the Clinton campaign to voice their concerns, noting a closing window of opportunity to challenge the vote counts. The deadlines to file recounts are Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania and next Wednesday in Michigan.

The report spread quickly throughout US media, with many on social media calling for the Justice Department to audit the vote.

Clinton's campaign has not yet said whether they are considering filing for a recount.

'Statistically doesn't check out'

Several political and statistical experts, however, cast doubt on the claims on Wednesday.

Halderman, one of the experts mentioned in the "New York Magazine" article, published a report saying the polling deviations from pre-election polls were most likely not the result of a cyberattack, but it merits an investigation.

"The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence - paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania," he wrote in an article published on "Medium."

He added that it was possible hackers spread malware into voting machines to shift slight, but meaningful, percentages during the election.

Statistician Nate Silver, who founded FiveThirtyEight, called the experts' claims speculative, saying "statistically it doesn't check out."

"There's no clear evidence that the voting method used in a county - by machine or by paper - had an effect on the vote," he wrote.

Silver, who incorrectly projected Clinton's win but predicted a much tighter race than other polls, said there was "no correlation" in six of eight states where Republican candidate Donald Trump beat Clinton by less than 10 percentage points.

Clinton now leads President-elect Trump in the popular vote by over two million votes, a tally compiled by the Cook Political Report showed on Wednesday. Her 1.5 percent popular vote lead, however, does not make a difference in the election outcome as Trump won by taking a majority of the electoral votes.

rs/bw (AFP, dpa)

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