Are Claims Of Election Fraud Credible? An Interview with Bruce Abramson, PhD

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.

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Bruce Abramson

Bruce Abramson

Bruce Abramson has over thirty years of experience working as a technologist, economist, attorney, and policy analyst. Dr. Abramson holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia and a J.D. from Georgetown. He has contributed to the scholarly literature on computing, business, economics, law, and foreign policy, and written extensively about American politics and policy.