Fact Check: Explaining the False Allegations About Dominion Voting Systems
The vote-counting software has been the subject of conspiracy theories about Democrats ‘stealing the election.’
Sidney Powell, a member of President Trump’s legal team currently contesting election results across the country, alleged that Democrats were stealing the election from Trump by manipulating Dominion Voting Systems, vote-counting software used in many states. The charge came during an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo.
Powell alleged that the Democratic Party “had the algorithm, they had the paper ballots waiting to be inserted if and when needed. And notably President Trump’s vote in the blue states went up enormously and that’s when they had to stop the vote count and go in and replace votes for Biden and take away Trump votes.”
Powell did not offer up any evidence to support these claims.
Many of the claims about Dominion can be traced to its alleged role in vote-counting errors in Antrim County, Michigan, and several counties in Georgia. Antrim County revealed it had inadvertently misreported a number of votes in unofficial results, with state GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox claiming that the error was due to “tabulating software glitched and caused a miscalculation of the votes.” However, Michigan’s secretary of state announced that it was not a software issue, but “user human error” that led to the misreporting, and clarified that “the correct results always were and continue to be reflected on the tabulator totals tape and on the ballots themselves. Even if the error in the reported unofficial results had not been quickly noticed, it would have been identified during the county canvass.”
In Georgia, Morgan and Spalding counties experienced a glitch that delayed voting and vote counting.* Gwinnett County, Georgia, also experienced delays in uploading the results of the election, though Dominion stated that the issue “does not relate to system software and has had no impact on the accuracy of vote totals or tabulation.”
Bartiromo also made false claims about Dominion during her interview with Powell. While Bartiromo correctly notes that a former chief of staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Nadeam Elshami, is now a lobbyist for Dominion (and fails to mention that a number of Republican staffers are as well), there is also no evidence to support Bartiromo’s claim that “Richard Blum, Senator Feinstein’s husband, [is] a significant shareholder of [Dominion].” The claims have also been made on social media and in articles from websites like DJHJ Media.
Dominion Vice President of Government Affairs Kay Stimson told The Dispatch Fact Check that “this is a false claim spread on social media. The company has no financial relationship with Mr. Blum.”
It’s unclear where the claim about Blum originated, but a number of viral posts across social media websites last week suggested Blum owns 60 percent of a company called Avid Technology, which the posts allege produced the voting software used in Michigan.
By way of proof, such posts and the DJHJ Media article link to what appears to be an authentic SEC form detailing Blum’s purchase of Avid stock in 2006. A 2016 press release from Avid confirms that Blum Capital Partners, a private equity firm which Blum chairs, owned 16.7 percent of the company’s stock. However, in an interview with The Dispatch Fact Check, Avid Technology public relations representative Dave Smith said that Blum Capital no longer has a stake in Avid. “While Blum Capital was an investor in our company, it has no holdings in Avid today,” said Smith.
But it’s a moot point: Avid Technology has nothing to do with Dominion and doesn’t even produce voting software. Smith explained that Avid “[does] not develop software for vote counting. We make and sell software and other technologies used by creative individuals and media companies to produce music, movies, TV news, and shows and other video and audio content.”
In emails exchanged with The Dispatch Fact Check, Stimson confirmed as well that Avid has “no connection with Dominion.”
It is correct that a former chief of staff to Pelosi now lobbies on behalf of Dominion—though knowing that prominent Republicans do so as well weakens the argument that this is evidence of partisanship—but neither Powell, nor Bartiromo, nor anyone else promoting theories about Dominion has produced accurate evidence to connect Sen. Feinstein to Dominion via her husband nor evidence that Dominion engaged in voter fraud.
*Update, November 12: When we published this fact check, we included a reference to local officials in two Georgia counties blaming a software update for causing some tabulating machines to crash. On Monday, Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager in the Georgia secretary of state's office, denied that explanation. He stated that in Spalding County “nothing touched the poll pads after October 31, that was the last poll pad update. There was nothing that was done to the system after that date.” He did not provide further information about the cause of the glitch. The new information does not change the substance of our fact check or provide any validity to the claim that Democrats are “stealing the election” by manipulating Dominion Voting Systems software.
If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email email@example.com.
This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 U.S. Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.
Photograph by Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.