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Smartmatic does not own Dominion Voting Systems

November 17, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Dominion Voting Systems, one of the most widely used election technology firms in the United States, is owned by the company Smartmatic through an intermediary company called Indra. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Both Dominion and Smartmatic have released statements saying no ownership relationship exists between the two competing firms. Indra Sistemas, a Spanish company, told The Associated Press in an email it has never developed any project or had a commercial, contractual or corporate relationship with either firm. 

THE FACTS: Since U.S. voters chose Joe Biden as their new president-elect, President Donald Trump and his supporters have sought to undermine trust in the results, despite a lack of evidence of any widespread irregularities in the 2020 election.

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One strategy has been to launch a barrage of false claims toward Dominion, whose equipment is used for voting and vote tabulation in more than 30 states, including battlegrounds like Michigan and Georgia.

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.

Powell perpetuated the false claims and implied the alleged connection was a sign of foreign election interference in her own interview with Dobbs on Nov. 15. She further claimed Dominion software had deep ties to Venezuela. 

“I can hardly wait to put forth all the evidence we have on Dominion,” she said, “starting with the fact that it was created to produce altered voting results in Venezuela for Hugo Chavez and then shipped internationally to manipulate votes for purchase in other countries, including this one.”

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Smartmatic is an international company incorporated in Florida by Venezuelan founders. There’s no reason to believe Dominion has ties to Venezuela, nor a partnership with Smartmatic, according to Eddie Perez, a voting technology expert at the OSET Institute, a nonpartisan election technology research and development nonprofit.

“It appears that Mr. Giuliani is making some wild and unfounded claims that are connecting the dots between companies that appear to be unrelated,” Perez said.

While Smartmatic technology has been used in Venezuelan elections, accusations by government opponents that the company rigged elections there are unsubstantiated. In fact, in 2017, the company accused Venezuela’s government of electoral fraud. 

Some social media users attempted to link Dominion and Smartmatic through a company both firms have owned. Smartmatic purchased the voting machine company Sequoia Voting Systems in 2005 but sold it two years later after objections were raised over its partnership with a company in which Venezuela’s government had invested. Three years later, Dominion acquired Sequoia. 

Election security experts say it’s difficult to know for certain whether some Sequoia code may be used in Dominion’s software because of the industry’s limited transparency. Both Dominion and Smartmatic say they do not use each other’s software.

“Dominion has no company ownership relationships with any member of the Pelosi family, the Feinstein family, or the Clinton Global Initiative, Smartmatic, Scytl, or any ties to Venezuela,” Dominion said in a statement on its website. “Dominion works with all political parties; our customer base and our government outreach practices reflect this nonpartisan approach.”

Smartmatic concurred in its own statement, saying, “Smartmatic has never owned any shares or had any financial stake in Dominion Voting Systems. Smartmatic has never provided Dominion Voting Systems with any software, hardware or other technology. The two companies are competitors in the marketplace.”

Smartmatic only provided technology and software to Los Angeles County in the 2020 election, the company told the AP. Its technology was not used in any battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan or North Carolina.

A spokesman for Indra told the AP in an email it had no relationship with either company, nor with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Dominion has been the target of a number of false claims about the election pushed by Trump supporters, among them that the company switched or deleted votes cast for Trump and that it has ties to prominent Democrats.

There is “no credible evidence” that the 2020 election outcome was altered by exploiting technical vulnerabilities, according to an open letter signed by 59 election security experts and released Nov. 16.

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Associated Press writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report from Boston.

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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