Most people have no idea how hacking anything actually works. We've all seen the movies where several "nerds" wearing headsets are sitting in room with wires and cables going everywhere, and about 15 displays with all kinds of scrolling numbers and "code". They are all staring intently, typing feverishly, until one of them somberly announces "I'm in".
That's good for visual drama, but reality is a lot more mundane. The biggest resource for hacking isn't some special "code-breaker" program, but the human element. The tricks are many (by now, most people are already aware of "phishing" emails). Even the old "Nigerian Prince" letters that we used to get in snail mail are a form of hacking. It's all about using psychology to get people to react in a way you want them to. All it takes is an official looking email warning a person about an intrusion with a link to "change your password", and - boom - someone has your login credentials and has "hacked" the system.
That's why when the discussion is about the Russians "hacking the election", the definition of what is meant by that is crucial. In some minds, if the Russians didn't actually access the voting machines and vote-tallying systems, then the vote wasn't really "hacked". This is applying a very narrow definition of hacking to obfuscate the reality of how much the entire election was influenced by Russian psychological manipulation.
The reality is that a Russian think-tank took a two-pronged approach
to achieve their goal of getting Donald tRump elected. The first prong "recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama". The second one was to "intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral systemâ€™s legitimacy and damage Clintonâ€™s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency".