Update Dec. 14, 2020: Headline and verdict adjusted to better reflect the findings of this fact check.
Social media users have been sharing a video, which makes several untrue claims to undermine electronic voting software companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic in order to allege voter fraud in the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. The video alleges that Dominion is linked to Smartmatic; that the founders of Dominion and Smartmatic are linked to the left-leaning, decentralized, anti-fascist political movement Antifa and to Venezuela; that Dominion offices in Germany were raided; and that Dominion switched votes in Virginia. However, Reuters has examined these key claims and found they are not supported by facts.
The video (here , here) from the Tom Laipply Podcast is captioned : “DOMINION SOFTWARE IS A FAR LEFT ANTIFA SUPPORTING COMPANY THAT WAS USED IN 30 STATES. WE THE PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THIS WAS A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION!?”
In the video, the presenter says, “Dominion voting machines, that were used in 30 states, use Smartmatic software. Dominion is a front company for Smartmatic software. Smartmatic Dominion sent all voting results to Frankfurt and Barcelona, and we’ll get into the raid that happened in Frankfurt later, which did actually happen. Smartmatic is founded by two Venezuelans close to Hugo Chavez […] Dominion is a far left company with a leader who supports Antifa.” He then shows two spreadsheets and reads out segments from a Gateway Pundit article, which he claims proves election fraud occurred in Virginia.
The Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council said in a statement that election security officials have no evidence that ballots were changed, deleted or lost by voting systems in the Nov. 3 U.S. election, which they described as “the most secure in American history.“
Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud (here).
DOMINION AND SMARTMATIC
The video claims that Dominion uses Smartmatic Software and that Dominion is a front company for Smartmatic.
Samira Saba, communications director for Smartmatic, told Reuters via email for a previous fact check (here) : “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."
On the Dominion voting website, it states that Dominion has never been and is not currently owned by Smartmatic: “Dominion is an entirely separate company and a fierce competitor to Smartmatic. Dominion and Smartmatic do not collaborate in any way and have no affiliate relationships or financial ties. Dominion does not use Smartmatic software.” (www.dominionvoting.com/)
DOMINION AND SMARTMATIC FOUNDERS
This video claims that the founder of Dominion supports Antifa and that Smartmatic was founded by two Venezuelans close to the Latin nation’s former president, the late Hugo Chavez.
The CEO of Dominion is John Poulos (here). Dominion states on its website that it is a nonpartisan company: “Dominion works with all U.S. political parties; our customer base and our government outreach practices reflect this nonpartisan approach.” Reuters was not able to find any evidence to suggest that Poulos supported Antifa.
Two of Smartmatics’s founders Antonio Mugica (here) and Roger Pinate (here), who continue to run the company as CEO and president, are from Venezuela but the company was founded in Florida, incorporated in the United States and now has its headquarters in London, UK.
Smartmatic confirms on its website that the company is not Venezuelan, adding, “Smartmatic has no ties to governments or political parties of any country” (here).
The socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who was president of Venezuela for 14 years, died of cancer in 2013 (here).
DOMINION RAID CLAIM
The post alleges that there was a raid of Dominion offices in Frankfurt, where Dominion sent all of the election results.
Dominion also confirms on its website, “There have been no “raids” of Dominion servers by the U.S. military or otherwise and Dominion does not have servers in Germany” (www.dominionvoting.com/).
This comment in the video may refer to a claim previously fact-checked by Reuters here in which social media users claimed the Representative of Texas first congressional district, Louie Ghomert, said that the U.S. army had seized Dominion servers in Germany.
Ghomert’s comments were made on Newsmax (here), and also allegedly on a video call shared widely on social media (here , here , here). However, Ghomert was speaking about the electronic voting company Scytl, not Dominion.
Gohmert said, “I don’t know the truth. I know that there was a German tweet in German saying that on Monday, U.S. army forces went into Scytl and grabbed their server.” He claimed, without corroborating evidence, that Scytl had information that could show how many votes had allegedly been switched from Republican to Democrat.
Scytl published a statement on its website (here) refuting the claim: “The technologies implemented by Scytl in the US are both hosted and managed within the US, by a local subsidiary, SOE Software, based in Tampa, Florida; We do not tabulate, tally or count votes in the US; We do not have servers or offices in Frankfurt; The US army has not seized anything from Scytl in Barcelona, Frankfurt or anywhere else."
VOTES IN VIRGINIA
In the video, the presenter reads out passages and shows two spreadsheets from an article by Gateway Pundit seen here .
The article purports to show evidence of voter fraud in Virginia, which the video presenter claims is proof of Dominion changing votes. As “evidence,” this article cites spreadsheets of data purportedly from the New York Times, pointing out that the spreadsheets show three vote dumps totalling over 900,000 votes for Biden and almost 200,000 votes for Trump, two of which were subsequently subtracted, suggesting that in the end, Biden received an extra 308,051.63 votes and Trump, 77,492.67. The article says, “These reversing entries look like adjusting entries […] There really is no logical reason except for fraud.”
A spokesperson for the New York Times (NYT) told Reuters that their company did not make the spreadsheets in the Gateway Pundit article.
However, the NYT did share with Reuters the election data from Fairfax County, Virginia, which shows three entries for Biden and Trump together totalling over 900,000 and almost 200,000 votes respectively, where two of the entries were later deleted. This is a very similar situation to the one detailed in the Gateway Pundit article, although the number of votes in each of the six alleged vote dumps for Biden and Trump in the Gateway Pundit article differ from NYT data by a margin of a few hundred to approximately two thousand votes.
The table that the NYT shared with Reuters can be seen here: vimeo.com/484086368 . The first displayed large vote dump entry at 23:42 ET on Nov. 3 shows an addition of 330,442 votes for Biden and 38,150 for Trump in the NYT data, close to the 331,289.50 votes for Biden and 39,368.76 for Trump recorded in the Gateway Pundit chart. In the NYT data, 330,442 and 38,150 votes were subtracted from Biden and Trump’s vote totals respectively at 00:12 ET on Nov. 4. In the Gateway Pundit data, 330,153.34 votes were subtracted from Biden and 37,510.59 from Trump at 05:12 GMT (five hours before ET, so the same time stamp as the subtraction in the NYT data).
A second large entry at 00:26 ET on Nov. 4 showed 308,407 votes added to Biden’s total and 79,372 to Trump, all of which were then subtracted at 00:30 in the NYT data. In the Gateway Pundit data Biden received 308,341.59 votes and Trump 80,357.05 at 05:26 GMT, all of which were subtracted at 05:30 GMT.
The third large entry at 02:17 ET saw Biden receive 308,407 votes and Trump 79,372 in the NYT data, while in the Gateway pundit data Biden received 308,051.63 votes and Trump 77,492.67. There was no subtraction of votes following this addition.
The New York Times spokesperson explained why the subtraction and multiple entries occurred: “The jump and reversals reflect Edison confirming the data.”
“There is no evidence in our data that votes have been fraudulently switched between candidates. Sometimes over the course of reporting results officials or results providers make mistakes, such as mixing up two numbers, and they correct those mistakes as they verify the data.”
In the NYT data, the amount taken away from the total matches the amount originally added on, for example, where 330,442 votes were added for Biden at 23:42 ET, 330,442 votes were subtracted at 00:12 ET on Nov. 4. This means that the subtractions made no difference to the overall vote total until the figure was verified.
False. Smartmatic says it does not own or supply software to Dominion. Dominion is not linked to Antifa. Two of Smartmatics founders are from Venezuela but the company was incorporated in the U.S. and says it has no ties to governments or political parties of any country. Dominion did not switch votes in Virginia and was not subject to a U.S. army raid in Germany.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.