Given the pre-election climate of hacking and cyber espionage against the DNC, along with the DHS warning of active hacking attempts on state election systems and their recommendation to bolster cyber security around the US for the elections, what are the chances that some of these systems had actually been compromised and were used to ever so slightly shift the results (which seem to be fairly off the mark from previous polling).

  • I think that what to do about tampered results would be better as a separate question. Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 16:31
  • agreed. thanks. politics.stackexchange.com/questions/13110/…
    – 4m1r
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 16:41
  • 5
    It's trivial to say that all elections have a chance of tampering that is greater than 0%. Is there more to this question? Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 17:04
  • "yes". Unfortunately, quantifying that chance is way close to impossible.
    – user4012
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


A number of articles published before the election explored the possibility of hacking. An Ars Technica article explained a number of voting machines had known vulnerabilities to hacking, but they concluded that the likelihood of hacking influencing an election was unlikely:

Security experts have been quick to point out that hacking enough votes to alter an election is prohibitively hard to do. As already noted, most hacks require physical access to machines that by law are required to be monitored by election officials. What's more, machines used in US elections are extremely diverse. Taken together, these characteristics probably prevent hacks from scaling to the volumes that would be required to change the outcome of a national election.

Still, the hacks might be used to alter a relatively small number of results in swing states, where outcomes have been known to be decided by fewer than a few hundred or a few thousand votes. The hacks could also be used to sow widespread distrust in the official returns and undermine confidence in the legitimacy of the election.

The article said that the more likely danger of hacking was an erosion of confidence in the electoral system. "The lack of security in many of the nation's e-voting systems certainly doesn't inspire confidence."

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