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Soros does not own voting machine company Smartmatics

March 13, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Billionaire philanthropist George Soros owns Smartmatic voting machines. Don’t throw your vote away if you live in a state that uses them. Ask for a paper ballot. Under federal law the polling place must provide one.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Soros, who donates to liberal political causes, does not own Smartmatic, a company that specializes in voting technology.

THE FACTS: A post circulating on Facebook featuring a photo of Soros and titled “Defeat Election Fraud” falsely claims he owns the company and names 16 states as places that use them. Three of the states _ Michigan, Missouri and Washington _ were conducting primaries on Tuesday. Similar false claims have circulated previously with posts dating as far back as 2016.

Michigan has three voting system vendors approved for the state, which are Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems and Software and Hart InterCivic. 

Samira Saba, a spokeswoman for Smartmatic, told The Associated Press in an email that Los Angeles County is currently the company’s only client in the U.S. 

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While the chairman of SmartMatics and the SGO Group, Mark Malloch-Brown, serves on the Open Society Foundations Global Board -- founded by George Soros -- SmartMatics is not owned by Soros himself, despite what the post circulating widely on social media suggested.

“Defeat election fraud! On election day, if your voting machine is a SmartMatic brand, Demand a paper ballot. George Soro’s now owns SmartMatic. You have the right to require a paper ballot, and under Federal Law the polling place must provide one for you. Don’t throw your vote away,” the post stated. 

The company’s website, smartmatic.com, noted that “George Soros does not have and has never had any ownership stake in Smartmatic.” 

Smartmatic took part in its first U.S. election during the 2005-2006 election cycle where it offered its services to 16 states, according to their website.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536