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. In 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.
As such, the claim was false and contained numerous inaccuracies in its ancillary detail. The chair of Smartmatic was not currently affiliated with any group of George Soros, the included chart involved voting machines unrelated to Smartmatic, and while Smartmatic touted providing services to counties in the 16 listed states, not one of those states used Smartmatic voting machines. A near identical rumor involving Soros and President Barack Obama circulated in 2012, and similarly had no truth to it.
a pilot test with Smartmatic to streamline and expedite election reports during the California Primary Presidential Elections of June 7.
Smartmatic provided its ePen solution in Malibu, Littlerock and Downey to enable the fast capture of the provisional envelopes and vote-by-mail ballots from reporting precincts.
The item went on to claim the 2016 Democratic primary was similarly rigged in Clinton’s favor, using a chart from a mid-2016 viral paper examining the integrity of primary results in contests between Clinton and Sanders:
Just take a look at this chart detailing some of the primary results between Hillary and Bernie. Look how much better Hillary did in states that used HER voting machines:
That chart (published in July 2016) had nothing to do with Smartmatic or “HER voting machines”; it pertained to the paper’s authors’ assessment of purported variations in results between states with and states without “paper trails” on electronic voting machines:
We found that while the polls were quite successful at predicting Clinton’s numbers in states with paper trails (just a statistically inconsequential 1% difference), Clinton over-performed by an average of 9% in the states that use electronic voting machines but fail to provide paper evidence of this vote:
Thus, pollsters were quite accurate in predicting the outcome, but only in states where fraud is hardest to hide. This situation is completely flipped in the states where the placed vote cannot be verified, as the vote only ever existed in the machines.
An interesting point of deviation between the two separate election fraud claims was that the initial paper focused in part on potential impropriety involving voting machines. But in that earlier claim, Smartmatic (the vendor purportedly in control of 16 states) was not mentioned:
Interestingly, much information has recently come to light about the Clinton candidacy. Notably, the hacker Guccifer 2.0 released documents which he took from the computer network of the Democratic National Committee. Among these files, one tabulated a list of big-money donors to the Clinton Foundation. One fact has gone unreported in the media: Two of the three companies that control the electronic voting market, namely Dominion Voting and H.I.G. Capital (i.e. Hart Intercivic), are in this list of big-money donors.
In conclusion, the data suggests that Clinton won in counties and in states where Clinton Foundation donors are responsible for the voting machines. Thus, we strongly believe that the risk posed by unverifiable electronic voting should not be taken. Our country should go back to verifiable voting. An honest election is more important than a day of labor.
Off the bat, a discrepancy arose vis a vis the chart. In July 2016, vote skeptics eyed links between two voting vendors and the Democratic National Committee (DNC); neither of those vendors was Smartmatic. In October 2016, the same chart was used to claim Smartmatic had already rigged the primary for Clinton, and would do so for her again in her face-off against Donald Trump on 8 November 2016. Given the source material for the chart named entirely different equipment vendors, its inclusion in claims about Smartmatic was suspect.
Missing from the later claim was any information about how the 16 states and their use of Smartmatic machines to ostensible exclusion was obtained. The claim was simply stated as fact with no citation, along with assertions that George Soros (a Hungarian-American mogul and political activist) was heading up Smartmatic. We contacted Smartmatic via phone and e-mail to ask about the states and the rumor, but did not receive a response. However, Smartmatic (like most companies) heralded their own work and achievements on their web site, and voting machines were not a primary highlight:
It appeared the list of 16 states came verbatim from the unreferenced Smartmatic web site, where the company explained that in its tenure it had worked with 307 counties in 16 states (not that it supplied all voting machines to all 16, or even currently worked in any capacity with any of the states):
In the US, Smartmatic has offered technology and support services to the Electoral Commissions of 307 counties in 16 States.
By contrast, the circulating articles used slightly different framing:
SMARTMATIC’S VOTING MACHINES WILL BE USED IN THESE 16 CRUCIAL STATES[.]
The “Soros connection” was also described openly on Smartmatic’s web site, via a biography and professional history for company chairman Lord Mark Malloch-Brown. Although the articles claimed Malloch-Brown “sat on the board” of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, his resume suggested that any work with Soros was not current:
Mark Malloch-Brown is a former number two in the United Nations as well as having served in the British Cabinet and Foreign Office. He now sits in the House of Lords and is active both in business and in the non-profit world. He also remains deeply involved in international affairs.
Mark served as Deputy Secretary-General and Chief of Staff of the UN under Kofi Annan … Other positions have included vice-chairman of George Soros’s Investment Funds, as well as his Open Society Institute, a Vice-President at the World Bank and the lead international partner at Sawyer Miller, a political consulting firm.
Thus far the rumor amounted to Smartmatic’s potential and possibly prior involvement in “offer[ing] technology and support services” to 307 counties in 16 states, a misrepresented chart of alleged election irregularities involving other voting equipment vendors, and a company chair who once worked for Soros’ Investment Funds and Open Society Institute.
As for the level of Smartmatic’s specific involvement in the vote in those 16 states, most state election officials provided information about their voting methods up to and including vendors that supplied equipment used on Election Day. Ballotpedia hosted a color-coded map of the U.S. with information about voting methods by state, and not all the 16 states voted identically:
Going by color-coding alone, it was clear the states’ election equipment and processes varied tremendously. The oft-included chart (which evolved to identify “HER voting machines”) in actuality referenced states that employed Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) without a paper trail. But several of the 16 states with a paper trail included Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, and Wisconsin — they were not included in tabulations from states without. Of the 16, only Louisiana and New Jersey employed the DRE without paper trail method of voting, and the balance of states used either paper ballots, a combination of DRE and paper ballots, or mail-in voting — none of which could be easily corrupted by Hillary Clinton or George Soros. As of 2014, the District of Columbia offered both paper and DRE voting with receipts.
As Smartmatic stated, “support” and “technology” was provided to the 16 states mentioned; extant information indicated that the states were not equipped identically with specific machines; some used paper or mail-in ballots, some employed DRE with a paper trail, and two used DRE without any “receipts.”
Arizona (the first state listed) made information about voting machine manufacturers available on its web site [PDF]; only Maricopa county used Sequoia technologies, bought and later sold by Smartmatic in 2006. California relied on a a variety of vendors for DRE voting, including Sequoia, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, InkaVote, and Premier; Smartmatic was not listed on California’s election web site as a current or prior vendor of voting machines (but as evidenced above, the company did provide electronic pens for some primary election functions). Illinois also did not list Smartmatic as a vendor, Colorado used Diebold equipment before switching to vote by mail (a vendor also used by Missouri), and Florida listed several vendors (none Smartmatic) for their machines.
In fact, in a search using Verified Voting, not a single one of the 16 states was listed as using voting machines provided by Smartmatic — Smartmatic was not even listed as a vendor of any voting machine in any state. As such, the claim was false and contained numerous inaccuracies in its ancillary detail. The chair of Smartmatic was not currently affiliated with any group of George Soros, the included chart involved voting machines unrelated to Smartmatic, and while Smartmatic touted providing services to counties in the 16 listed states, not one of those states used Smartmatic voting machines. A near identical rumor involving Soros and President Barack Obama circulated in 2012, and similarly had no truth to it.