It occurs to me that there are two related by separate ways to disrupt elections:
- You can actually attack the system and affect the outcome in some way
- You can convince the people that you did this
Note that you can do #2 without having done #1.
With this coming US election, there is mounting evidence that Russia is trying to do #1, but the point of #2 is that they don’t have to be successful to…well, be successful.
If the election is close—which is looking decreasingly likely—convincing narrative that the election was compromised will produce almost all the value of actually hacking it, reversing the outcome to favor you, and having it go unnoticed.
To put these in order:
- (best) Change outcome in your favor, don’t get noticed
- (great) Change outcome in your favor, someone suspects something
- (good) If your candidate doesn’t win, convince people that the opposition hacked the process in order to invalidate the result
There are other options, and these may change in value based on your goals, tactics, and strategy. But what’s important to understand is that when the integrity of something is of value, and you’re not able to actually affect its integrity, you can still achieve results by successfully raising questions of its legitimacy.
If the election is anywhere near close, expect to see all sorts of evidence of #1, #2, and/or both.