Debunks: The Dominion-Venezuela-Smartmatic Vote Theft Conspiracy Theory

Mick West

Staff member
Nov 16, 2020: New York Intelligencer: Trump’s New Vote Fraud Theory Is So Much Crazier Than You Realize

Trump “has become personally obsessed with the baseless Dominion claims and has asked campaign officials as well as national security officials in the government about the company,” reports the Washington Post.

Rudy Giuliani, who Trump has entrusted with running his election challenge operation, explained the theory this weekend on Fox News. I am quoting the entire explanation because it is intricate, sweeping, and utterly, utterly bonkers:

“It’s way beyond what people think, including a very, very dangerous foreign company that did the votes in 27 states, a company that’s not American, a company that’s foreign, a company that has close, close ties with Venezuela and, therefore, China and uses a Venezuelan company software that’s been used to steal elections in other countries.”

“I mean, I don’t think people have any idea of the dimension of the national security problem that Dominion creates. This Dominion company is a radical-left company. One of the people there is a big supporter of antifa and has written horrible things about the president for the last three or four years. And, the software that they use is done by a company called Smartmatic, a company that was founded by [Hugo] Chávez and by Chávez’s two allies, who still own it. And it’s been used to cheat in elections in South America. It was banned by the United States several — about a decade ago. It’s come back now as a subcontractor to other companies. It sort of hides in the weeds. But Dominion sends everything to Smartmatic. Can you believe it? Our votes are sent overseas. They are sent to someplace else, some other country. Why do they leave our country?”

“And this company had — and this company has tried-and-true methods for fixing elections by calling a halt to the voting when you’re running too far behind. They have done that in prior elections. Now, what happened on election night? He [Trump] was ahead by 800,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Impossible to catch up, unless you’re cheating, and same thing in Michigan, Wisconsin. He was ahead in all those states by numbers that, in prior times — and I can show this to you — networks would have called for him. But they didn’t call it for him.”​

Nov 14, 2020: New York Times: Giuliani adds fuel to discredited theories about voting machines.

Looking to sow doubt about the vote count in multiple swing states that were recently called for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Giuliani hinted support for a discredited theory that one of the companies that manufactures the voting machines used in some states, Smartmatic, is controlled by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

Nov 17, 2020: MSNBC: Why Trump's Dominion conspiracy theory is so deeply odd

Apparently responding to something he saw on a far-right television station, the outgoing president highlighted a "report" that Dominion "deleted" and "switched" millions of Republican votes. It was the sort of tweet one might expect from a fringe conspiracy theorist with a handful of Twitter followers, except in this case, the missive was published by the ostensible leader of the free world.

Naturally, Trump's tweet was quickly discredited -- the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at Trump's own Department of Homeland Security has explained that the scenario just isn't possible -- but as the president's response has grown more manic, his fixation on Dominion has gotten creepier.

Nov 16, 2020: Washington Post: Giuliani’s fantasy parade of false voter-fraud claims

Moreover, this nonsense has already been debunked by Trump’s own government. In a statement issued Nov. 12, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and partners such as the National Association of Secretaries of State declared: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Nov 17, 2020: Associate Press: Smartmatic does not own Dominion Voting Systems

The latest of those claims, amplified by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell in recent television interviews, attempted to link Dominion and competing voting technology firm Smartmatic, despite the fact that the two companies have no active partnership or ownership deal.

“Dominion is a company that’s owned by another company called Smartmatic through an intermediary company named Indra,” Giuliani told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs in an interview on Nov. 12. “Dominion is a Canadian company but all of its software is Smartmatic software.”

Dominion, for one, is not a Canadian company. It has been majority owned since 2018 by Staple Street Capital, a New York private equity firm. And both Dominion and Smartmatic have issued statements saying Smartmatic neither owns Dominion nor provides it with any software or equipment.

Nov 17: Wall Street Journal:
President Trump has so far been unwilling to concede to Joe Biden, and his latest argument is that the voting machines must have been rigged. Where’s the evidence? Strong claims need strong proof, not rumors and innuendo on Twitter.

Nov 19, 2020: New York Times: How Sidney Powell inaccurately cited Venezuela’s elections as evidence of U.S. fraud.

Smartmatic does not provide technology to the battleground states that sealed President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. And electronic voting security experts said they were unimpressed with what Ms. Powell presented.

“The essence of the affidavit is that voting machines could have been hacked. This is not news,” said David Dill, a computer scientist at Stanford University and founder of the Verified Voting Foundation. “Every single vote that has been counted by computer in the U.S. in the last 50 years was counted by a computer that ‘could have been hacked.’ So far as I know, none of them actually were.”
The completion of the Georgia recount completely and utterly debunks the claim that Dominion voting systems were switching votes. The Dominion voting systems in Georgia created a paper ballot trail (i.e., the voter enters their choices into a Dominion machine via a touch screen and then that machine prints for the voter a ballot that reflects their choices, which ballot is then submitted by that voter and counted by the state using another Dominion machine), which Georgia audited one ballot at a time by hand. The result was that Georgia found no significant vote count discrepancies in the ballot counts in any county. Moreover, Georgia hired a third party firm to audit a random selection of its Dominion voting machines and that audit turned up no issues.

Georgia's Secretary of State detailed these findings in an interview that can be watched here.

And here's the official statement of Georgia's Secretary of State re the outcome of the voting machine audit:

(ATLANTA) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last week ordered Pro V&V, a U.S. Election Assistance Commission certified testing laboratory, to do an audit of a random sample of machines to confirm no hack or tamper: “Pro V&V found no evidence of the machines being tampered.”

“We are glad but not surprised that the audit of the state’s voting machines was an unqualified success,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “Election security has been a top priority since day one of my administration. We have partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, the Georgia Cyber Center, Georgia Tech security experts, and wide range of other election security experts around the state and country so Georgia voters can be confident that their vote is safe and secure.”

Pro V&V, based in Huntsville, Alabama is a U.S. Election Assistance Commission-certified Voting System Test Laboratory (VSTL), meaning the lab is “qualified to test voting systems to Federal standards.” VSTL certification is provided for under the Help America Votes Act of 2002. Pro V&V’s accreditation by the USEAC was also recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. government’s physical science laboratory dedicated to creating standards and measures that would help America be the leading science innovator in the world. NIST contributes regularly to the development of cybersecurity and elections security standards for the U.S. and the world.

Pro V&V conducted an audit of a random sample of Dominion Voting Systems voting machines throughout the state using forensic techniques, including equipment from Cobb, Douglas, Floyd, Morgan, Paulding, and Spalding Counties. ICP (precinct ballot scanners), ICX (ballot marking devices), and ICC (central absentee ballot scanners) components were all subject to the audit. In conducting the audit, Pro V&V extracted the software or firmware from the components to check that the only software or firmware on the components was certified for use by the Secretary of State’s office. The testing was conducted on a Pro V&V laptop independent of the system.

According to the Pro V&V audit, all of the software and firmware on the sampled machines was verified to be the software and firmware certified for use by the Office of the Secretary of State. Coupled with the risk-limiting audit of all paper ballots relying solely on the printed text of the ballots, these steps confirm the assessment of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that there are no signs of cyber attacks or election hacking.

Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record overall, early, in-person, and absentee-by-mail turnout during the November 2020 elections.

Georgia's full vote count audit report is expected to be released tomorrow.
Nov 16, 2020: Washington Post: Giuliani’s fantasy parade of false voter-fraud claims
Article: Moreover, this nonsense has already been debunked by Trump’s own government. In a statement issued Nov. 12, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and partners such as the National Association of Secretaries of State declared: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” Source:
Now the firing of Christopher Krebs, the director of CISA, makes sense!

The irony is that Mitch McConnell blocked legislation to make electronic voting safer; one of the attorneys in Trump legal team today acknowledged that senators Klubuchar and Warren had pushed for that legislation as recent as December 2019.
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The Georgia recount report was released this evening. The report consists of three data files (two in excel form and one in pdf form) containing the results of the recount and audit by precinct and one page summary report, all of which I've attached it to this post. For ease of reference here is the full text of the summary report:

Risk-Limiting Audit Report

Georgia Presidential Contest, November 2020

November 19th, 2020

From November 11 to November 19, 2020, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office conducted a statewide risk-limiting audit of the Presidential Contest from the November 2020 General Election. Georgia’s original machine count resulted in a margin of 0.3% between candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump, requiring a full manual count of just over 5 million ballots to complete an efficient risk-limiting audit. Audit boards from all 159 Georgia counties examined 41881 batches, hand-sorting and counting each ballot as part of the process, which was the largest hand count of ballots in United States history. This document summarizes the findings of the audit.

Audit Outcome

The audit confirmed the original result of the election,
namely that Joe Biden won the Presidential Contest in the State of Georgia. Like any risk-limiting audit, this audit does not confirm or correct the exact margin of victory. It only provides sufficient evidence that the correct winner was reported.

Hand-Count Variations

Prior research indicates that the expected variance between hand and machine counts, assuming no issues beyond normal human error in the counting process, ranges anywhere from 1.0 - 1.5% across all ballot types.

Georgia shows a 0.1053% (0.001053) variation in statewide total vote count, and a 0.0099% (0.000099) variation in the overall margin. The audited vote totals from the hand tally for the three candidates were:


In addition, no individual county showed a variation in margin larger than 0.73%, and 103 of the 159 counties showed a margin variation of less than 0.05%.

And here is the full press release that accompanied it (from the same link above):


(ATLANTA)-Today, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the results of the Risk Limiting Audit of Georgia’s presidential contest, which upheld and reaffirmed the original outcome produced by the machine tally of votes cast. Due to the tight margin of the race and the principles of risk-limiting audits, this audit was a full manual tally of all votes cast. The audit confirmed that the original machine count accurately portrayed the winner of the election. The results of the audit can be viewed HERE , HERE , and HERE .

“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “This is a credit to the hard work of our county and local elections officials who moved quickly to undertake and complete such a momentous task in a short period of time.”

“Georgia’s first statewide audit successfully confirmed the winner of the chosen contest and should give voters increased confidence in the results,” said Ben Adida, Executive Director of VotingWorks. “We were proud to work with Georgia on this historic audit. The difference between the reported results and the full manual tally is well within the expected error rate of hand-counting ballots, and the audit was a success.”

By law, Georgia was required to conduct a Risk Limiting Audit of a statewide race following the November elections. Understanding the importance of clear and reliable results for such an important contest, Secretary Raffensperger selected the presidential race in Georgia for the audit. Meeting the confidence threshold required by law for the audit meant conducting a full manual tally of every ballot cast in Georgia.

The Risk Limiting Audit reaffirmed the outcome of the presidential race in Georgia as originally reported, with Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump in the state.

The audit process also led to counties catching making mistakes they made in their original count by not uploading all memory cards. Those counties uploaded the memory cards and re-certified their results, leading to increased accuracy in the results the state will certify.

The differential of the audit results from the original machine counted results is well within the expected margin of human error that occurs when hand-counting ballots. A 2012 study by Rice University and Clemson University found that “hand counting of votes in postelection audit or recount procedures can result in error rates of up to 2 percent.” In Georgia’s recount, the highest error rate in any county recount was .73%. Most counties found no change in their finally tally. The majority of the remaining counties had changes of fewer than ten ballots.

Because the margin is still less than 0.5%, the President can request a recount after certification of the results. That recount will be conducted by rescanning all paper ballots.

Click here for the Risk Limiting Audit Report

It'd be hard to get a more perfect process by which to test Trump's more outlandish claims. It is hard to see how any of the types of fraud alleged by Trump could survive Georgia's standard safeguards on absentee ballots or in person voting and this audit. And this audit absolutely demolishes the Dominion voting system conspiracy theories in particular.

It is also worth adding that if Biden can win Georgia, a state not won by a Democratic presidential candidate since Clinton in '92, fair-and-square, as is clearly the case here, then why would it be outlandish for Biden to win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Nevada, each of which is typically more slanted towards the Democratic party in presidential races than Georgia? The short answer is, it wouldn't be, and so Georgia's findings here also militate against the unsubstantiated claims of fraud in those states. Biden obviously had a relatively good election night.