Claim: George Soros-controlled Smartmatic manufactures the voting machines used in 16 crucial states, and those states will be rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Origin:With the advent of electronic voting systems — and public unease with casting ballots that are not tangible physical objects — every election cycle brings rumors that some individual or group with a heavy investment in the outcome of the election owns or controls the machines that record and count votes — and those parties will use their powers to "rig" the voting systems they control to ensure the election outcome conforms to their preferred results.
Billionaire business magnate George Soros was tagged in such rumors in 2012, and he was back in 2016 as the subject of articles by disreputable web sites such as the Daily Caller falsely claiming that Soros' ties to the Smartmatic company, purportedly the manufacturer of voting machines used in 16 states, put him in a position to "rig" the election in Hillary Clinton's favor:
HILLARY IS RIGGING THE ELECTION!
Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
We’ve just learned that Hillary is tied to the one company that has the power to sway this entire election – Smartmatic.
Smartmatic manufactures the voting machines that will be used this November.
The Chairman of Smartmatic, Mark Malloch-Brown, is on the board of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
Yes, George Soros, the billionaire CROOK who is one of Hillary’s biggest donors.
SMARTMATIC’S VOTING MACHINES WILL BE USED IN THESE 16 CRUCIAL STATES:
District of Columbia
HILLARY IS TRYING TO RIG THIS ELECTION BECAUSE SHE KNOWS IT’S THE ONLY CHANCE SHE HAS!
George Soros has no hand in the management or ownership of Smartmatic. As is typical of such claims, this one is based on nothing more than the most tenuous of connections — namely that among the number of non-profit boards on which Smartmatic Chairman Lord Mark Malloch-Brown sits is the Global Board of the Open Society Foundation, an international grantmaking network founded by George Soros. That fact that one of the many people on one of the many boards of one of the many organizations with which George Soros (a large Clinton donor) is involved also happens to chair an electronic voting company is taken as proof enough by conspirators that George Soros has the means, motive, and intent to commit a massive act of voting fraud. And, despite being the multinational billionaire business magnate that he is, Soros utterly lacks the common sense not to rig an election through a confederate so obviously connected to him.
As is also typical of such claims, those who propagate them mistakenly assume that every company in the business of providing electronic voting services is producing machines that record and count votes, which isn't the case — such services can include anything from providing streamlined systems for reporting election results to the press to automating the process of voter authentication. It this case the assertion that "Smartmatic's voting machines will be used in 16 crucial states" is a false one, apparently a misinterpretation of a statement on Smartmatic's web site touting that the company had previously offered unspecified "technology and support services to the Electoral Commissions of 307 counties in 16 States" — a statement that didn't say that Smartmatic supplied voting machines used in all if those states, or that Smartmatic was even currently working with any of those states in any capacity.
Indeed, the Case Studies section Smartmatic's web site chronicles their primarily dealing in providing equipment and services for foreign elections — there's no mention of Smartmatic's being involved in U.S. elections beyond providing a voting system for a Utah state Republican caucus in March of 2016 and pilot testing an ePen for capturing provisional envelopes and vote-by-mail ballots in parts of Los Angeles County.
In fact, a search using Verified Voting shows that not a single one of the listed 16 states is using voting machines provided by Smartmatic in the upcoming election — Smartmatic isn't even listed as a vendor of any voting machines being used in any state.
Nonetheless, the false rumor has grown so prevalent that Smartmatic has addressed it themselves on their web site, in a page that includes a statement confirming that no Smartmatic technology is being used in any state during the 2016 U.S. presidential election:
• Smartmatic is 100% privately owned. Smartmatic has no ties to political parties or groups in any country and abide by a stringent code of ethics that forbids the company to ever donate to any political campaigns of any kind.
• The company’s headquarters were based in Florida for many years, but have since moved to London to service its global client base.
• George Soros does not have and has never had any ownership stake in Smartmatic.
• It is no secret that our Chairman Lord Mark Malloch-Brown is a member of a number of non-profit boards addressing global issues from poverty reduction to conflict resolution, including the Global Board of the Open Society Foundation. This is stated clearly in his official biography. Lord Malloch-Brown is a highly respected global figure whose credentials include former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and former Vice-Chairman of the World Economic Forum. He also served in the British Cabinet, as Minister of State in the Foreign Office.
• Smartmatic will not be deploying its technology in any U.S. county for the upcoming 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.
• Our election technology has handled more than 3.7 billion votes over the past 12 years in election projects on five continents, without a single discrepancy.
• As a technology provider, Smartmatic is only responsible for, and concerned with, the technical aspects of the vote. Smartmatic does not comment on specific candidates or outcomes.
• Smartmatic’s voting technology has never been compromised.
George Soros' philanthropic organization comprises 22 different boards, but Smartmatic's chairman sits on only one of them. Soros himself has never worked for, or held an ownership share in, Smartmatic.
Originally published: 20 October 2016
Barragan, Rodolfo Cortes. "Study Shows Voting Irregularities Linked to Companies That Donated to the Clinton Foundation."
The Bern Report. 7 July 2016.
Cohen, Zach C. "How D.C. Votes: Paper or Scantron?"
The Washington Post. 2 April 2014.
McCord, Susan. "Augusta Getting 100 Used Voting Machines from Colorado County."
The Augusta Chronicle. 2 August 2016.