Dominion Voting Systems

Dominion Voting Systems Corporation is a company that sells electronic voting hardware and software, including voting machines and tabulators, in the United States and Canada.[1] The company's headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, and Denver, Colorado.[2] It develops software in-house in offices in the United States, Canada, and Serbia.[3]

Dominion Voting Systems Corporation
TypePrivate
IndustryElectronic voting hardware
Founded2002; 19 years ago (2002)
Founders
  • James Hoover
  • John Poulos
Headquarters
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Denver, Colorado, US
OwnerManagement
Staple Street Capital
Subsidiaries
Websitedominionvoting.com

Dominion produces electronic voting machines, which allow voters to cast their vote electronically, as well as optical scanning devices to tabulate paper ballots.[4][5] Dominion voting machines have been utilized in countries around the world, primarily in Canada and the United States. Dominion systems are employed in Canada's major party leadership elections, and they are also used across the nation in local and municipal elections. Dominion products have been increasingly utilized in the United States in recent years. The company drew extensive attention during the United States presidential election of 2020, when devices manufactured by Dominion were used to process votes in twenty-eight states, including the swing states of Wisconsin and Georgia.[6]

After then-president Donald Trump was defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Trump and various surrogates promoted conspiracy theories about Dominion, alleging that the company was part of an international cabal to steal the election from Trump, and that it used its voting machines to transfer millions of votes from Trump to Biden.[7][8][9] There is no evidence supporting these claims, which have been debunked by various groups including election technology experts, government and voting industry officials, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).[7][8][9] These conspiracy theories were further discredited by hand recounts of the ballots cast in the 2020 presidential elections in Georgia and Wisconsin; the hand recounts in these states found that Dominion voting machines had accurately tabulated votes, that any error in the initial tabulation was human error, and that Biden had defeated Trump in both battleground states.[10]

In December 2020 and January 2021, Fox News, Fox Business, Newsmax, and the American Thinker rescinded allegations they had broadcast about Dominion and Smartmatic after one or both companies threatened legal action for defamation.[11][12][13][14] In January 2021, Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against former Trump campaign lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, asking for $1.3 billion in damages from each.[15][16] After Dominion filed the lawsuit against Powell, One America News Network removed all references to Dominion and Smartmatic from its website without issuing public retractions.[17][18] In March 2021, Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News.[19]

CompanyEdit

 
A Dominion ImageCast precinct-count optical-scan voting machine, mounted on a collapsible ballot box made by ElectionSource

Dominion Voting Systems Corporation was founded in 2002 in Toronto, Ontario, by John Poulos and James Hoover.[20] The company develops proprietary software in-house and sells electronic voting hardware and software, including voting machines and tabulators, in the U.S. and Canada.[3] The company maintains headquarters in Toronto and in Denver, Colorado.[2] Its name comes from the Dominion Elections Act.[21][22]

AcquisitionsEdit

In May 2010, Dominion acquired Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems, Inc.) from Election Systems & Software (ES&S). ES&S had just acquired Premier from Diebold and was required to sell off Premier by the United States Department of Justice for anti-trust concerns.[23] In June 2010, Dominion acquired Sequoia Voting Systems.[24]

In 2018, Dominion was acquired by its management and Staple Street Capital, a private equity firm.[25][26]

OfficersEdit

Poulos, President and CEO of Dominion, has a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from INSEAD.[27] Hoover, Vice President, has an MS in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta.[28]

EquipmentEdit

Dominion Voting Systems (DVS) sells electronic voting systems hardware and software, including voting machines and tabulators, in the United States and Canada.[1] This equipment includes the DVS ImageCast Evolution (ICE), ImageCast X (ICX), and ImageCast Central (ICC).

ImageCast Evolution is an optical scan tabulator designed for use in voting precincts that scans and tabulates marked paper ballots. The ICE will also mark ballots for voters with disabilities using an attached accessibility device that enables all voters to cast votes with paper ballots on the same machine. When a marked paper ballot is inserted, the tabulator screen display messages indicating whether the ballot has been successfully input. Causes of rejection include a blank ballot, an overvoted ballot, and unclear marks. After the polls close, results from the encrypted memory cards of each ICE tabulator can be transferred and uploaded to the central system to tally and report the results.[29]

ImageCast X is described as an accessible ballot-marking device that allows a voter to use various methods to input their choices. An activation card is required for use, which is provided by a poll worker. The machine has audio capability for up to ten languages, as required by the U.S. Department of Justice, and includes a 19" full-color screen for visual operation, audio and visual marking interfaces and Audio-Tactile Interface (ATI). ATI is a hand-held controller that coordinates with headphones and connects directly to the ICE. During the voting process, the machine generates a marked paper ballot that serves as the official ballot record. The display can be adjusted with contrast and zoom functions that automatically reset at the end of the session. The ATI device has raised keys with tactile function, includes the headphone jack and a T-coil coupling, and has a T4 rating for interference. It uses light pressure switches and may be equipped with a pneumatic switch, commonly known as "sip-n-puff", or a set of paddles.[29]

ImageCast Central uses commercial off-the-shelf Canon DR-X10C or Canon DR-G1130 scanners at a central tabulation location to scan vote-by-mail and post-voting ballots like provisional ballots, ballots requiring duplication and ballots scanned into multi-precinct ICE tabulators. The results are dropped into a folder located on the server where they can be accessed by the Adjudication Client software.[30]

SoftwareEdit

DVS voting machines operate using a suite of proprietary software applications, including Election Management System, Adjudication Client, and Mobile Ballot Printing. The software allows for various settings, including cumulative voting, where voters can apply multiple votes on one or more candidates, and Ranked Order Voting, where voters rank candidates in order of choice and the system shifts votes as candidates are eliminated.[31][failed verification]

The Election Management System (EMS) includes a set of applications that handle pre- and post-voting activities, including ballot layout, programming media for voting equipment, generation of audio files, importing results data, and accumulating and reporting results.[30]

Adjudication Client is a software application with administrative and ballot inspection roles. It allows a jurisdiction to resolve problems in a ballot on screen that would normally be rejected, to be remade or hand counted because of one or more exceptional conditions like a blank ballot, write-ins, over-votes, marginal marks and under-votes. The application configures user accounts, reasons for exception, batch management and report generation, which in some jurisdictions must be performed by an administrator directly on a server. Ballot inspection allows users to review ballots with exceptional conditions and either accept or resolve the ballot according to state laws. Each adjudicated ballot is marked with the username of the poll worker who made the change.[30]

Mobile Ballot Printing operates in conjunction with the EMS, which creates printable ballot images in .pdf format including tints and watermarks. The image is exported to a laptop and then printed on blank paper to provide a ballot record. After configuration and setup are complete, the laptop only contains geopolitical information and no voter data. The system will also generate reports in Excel, Word and .pdf format, including total number of ballots printed and ballot style.[30]

OperationsEdit

United StatesEdit

Dominion is the second-largest seller of voting machines in the United States.[32] In 2016, its machines served 70 million voters in 1,600 jurisdictions.[33] In 2019, the state of Georgia selected Dominion Voting Systems to provide its new statewide voting system beginning in 2020.[34]

In total, 28 states used Dominion voting machines to tabulate their votes during the 2020 United States presidential election, including most of the swing states.[6] Dominion's role in this regard led supporters of then-President Donald Trump to promote conspiracy theories about the company's voting machines, following Trump's defeat to Joe Biden in the election.

CanadaEdit

In Canada, Dominion's systems are deployed nationwide.[35] Currently, Dominion provides optical scan paper ballot tabulation systems for provincial elections, including Ontario and New Brunswick. Dominion also provides ballot tabulation and voting systems for Canada's major party leadership elections, including those of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.[36][37][38]

Ontario was the first Canadian province to use Dominion's tabulator machines in select municipalities in the 2006 municipal elections.[39] New Brunswick used Dominion's 763 tabulator machines in the 2014 provincial elections.[40] There were some problems with the reporting of tabulator counts after the election, and at 10:45 p.m. Elections New Brunswick officially suspended the results reporting count with 17 ridings still undeclared.[41] The Progressive Conservatives and the People's Alliance of New Brunswick called for a hand count of all ballots. Recounts were held in 7 of 49 ridings and the results were upheld with variations of 1–3 votes per candidate per riding.[42] This delay in results reporting was caused by an off-the-shelf software application unrelated to Dominion.[43]

In June 2018, Elections Ontario used Dominion's tabulator machines for the provincial election and deployed them at 50 percent of polling stations.[44][45]

Dominion's architecture was also widely used in the 2018 Ontario municipal elections on October 22, 2018, particularly for online voting. However, 51 of the province's municipalities had their elections impacted when the company's colocation centre provider imposed an unauthorized bandwidth cap due to the massive increase in voting traffic in the early evening, thus making it impossible for many voters to cast their vote at peak voting time.[46] The affected municipalities extended voting times to compensate for the glitch; most prominently, the city of Greater Sudbury, the largest city impacted by the cap, extended voting for a full 24 hours and announced no election results until the evening of October 23.[47]

Conspiracy theoriesEdit

Following the 2020 United States presidential election, Donald Trump and some other right-wing personalities amplified the hoax originated by the proponents of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory that Dominion Voting Systems had been compromised, resulting in millions of votes intended for Trump either being deleted or going to rival Joe Biden.[7][8][9] Trump was citing the pro-Trump OANN media outlet, which itself claimed to cite a report from Edison Research, an election monitoring group.[48] Edison Research said that they did not write such a report, and that they "have no evidence of any voter fraud."[48]

Trump and others also made unsubstantiated claims that Dominion had close ties to the Clinton family or other Democrats.[49] There is no evidence for any of these claims, which have been debunked by various groups including election technology experts, government and voting industry officials, and CISA.[7][9] On November 12, 2020, CISA released a statement that confirmed "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised." The statement was signed by various government and voting industry officials including the presidents of the National Association of State Election Directors and the National Association of Secretaries of State.[9]

Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani made several false assertions about Dominion, including that its voting machines used software developed by a competitor, Smartmatic, which he claimed actually owned Dominion, and which he said was founded by the former socialist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez.[50][51] Giuliani also falsely asserted that Dominion voting machines sent their voting data to Smartmatic at foreign locations and that it is a "radical-left" company with connections to antifa.[52][53] These accusations of a connection between Dominion and Smartmatic were made on conservative television outlets, and Smartmatic sent them a letter demanding a retraction and threatening legal action. Fox News host Lou Dobbs had been outspoken during his program about the accusations, and on December 18 his program aired a video segment refuting the accusations, though Dobbs himself did not comment. Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo had also been outspoken about the allegations, and both their programs aired the same video segment over the following two days.[11][12] Smartmatic also demanded a retraction from Newsmax, which had also promoted baseless conspiracy allegations about the company and Dominion, and on December 21 a Newsmax host acknowledged the network had no evidence the companies had a relationship, adding "No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election." The host further acknowledged that Smartmatic is not owned by any foreign entity, nor is it connected to George Soros, as had been alleged.[13] Dominion sent a similar letter to former Trump attorney Sidney Powell demanding she retract her allegations and retain all relevant records; the Trump legal team later instructed dozens of staffers to preserve all documents for any future litigation.[54]

In a related hoax, Dennis Montgomery, a software designer with a history of making dubious claims,[55] asserted that a government supercomputer program was used to switch votes from Trump to Biden on voting machines.[55] Trump attorney Sidney Powell promoted the allegations on Lou Dobbs's Fox Business program two days after the election, and again two days later on Maria Bartiromo's program, claiming to have "evidence that that is exactly what happened." Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, characterized the claim as "nonsense" and a "hoax."[55][56] Asserting that Krebs's analysis was "highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud," Trump fired him by tweet days later.[57]

Powell also asserted she had an affidavit from a former Venezuelan military official, a portion of which she posted on Twitter without a name or signature, who asserted that Dominion voting machines would print a paper ballot showing who a voter had selected, but change the vote inside the machine. Apparently speaking about the ICE machine, one source responded that this was incorrect, and that Dominion voting machines are only a "ballot marking device" system in which the voter deposits their printed ballot into a box for counting.[58]

The disinformation campaign against Dominion led to their employees being stalked, harassed, and receiving death threats.[15] Ron Watkins, a leading proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory,[59][60] posted videos on Twitter in early December of a Dominion employee using one of the machines, falsely stating that the employee was pictured tampering with election results. The employee received death threats as a result, and a noose was found hanging outside his home.[61][62] Eric Coomer, Dominion's director of product strategy and security, went into hiding soon after the election due to fear for his and his family's safety. He said that his personal address had been posted online, as had those of everyone from his parents and siblings to ex-girlfriends.[63] In one of their lawsuits, Dominion explained they had spent $565,000 on security as a result.[14][15]

After questions about the reliability of the company's systems surfaced during the election, Edward Perez, an election technology expert at the Open Source Election Technology Institute stated, "Many of the claims being asserted about Dominion and questionable voting technology is misinformation at best and, in many cases, they're outright disinformation."[8]

LawsuitsEdit

Eric Coomer, Dominion's director of product strategy and security, filed a defamation suit on December 22, 2020 against the Trump campaign, two campaign lawyers, and several conservative media outlets and individuals. Coomer asserted they had characterized him as a "traitor" and that as a result he was subjected to "multiple credible death threats". Coomer also said that a conservative activist had falsely claimed in a podcast that Coomer had participated in a September 2020 conference call with members of antifa, and that during the call he had said, "Don't worry about the election, Trump is not gonna win. I made f-ing sure of that. Hahahaha."[64][65][66] Also on December 22, defamation attorneys representing Dominion sent letters to Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and former Dominion contractor and self-described whistleblower Mellissa Carone, advising them to preserve all records relating to the company and demanding Giuliani and Carone cease making defamatory claims about the company, warning that legal action was "imminent."[67] Carone had alleged in testimony that "Everything that happened at that [Detroit ballot counting facility] was fraud. Every single thing." The letter to Carone asserted that, despite Carone presenting herself as a Dominion insider, she was "hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks." Michigan Circuit Court judge Timothy Kenny had previously ruled that an affidavit Carone had filed was "simply not credible."[68][69]

Dominion sent My Pillow CEO and Trump supporter Mike Lindell a letter in January 2021 stating, "you have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign" and that "litigation regarding these issues is imminent". Lindell told The New York Times, "I would really welcome them to sue me because I have all the evidence against them".[70]

Under threat of litigation, on January 15, 2021 the conservative online magazine American Thinker published a retraction of stories it published asserting that Dominion engaged in a conspiracy to rig the election, acknowledging, "these statements are completely false and have no basis in fact".[14] Fox News, Fox Business, and Newsmax all aired fact checks of their own previous coverage of Dominion and competitor Smartmatic after Smartmatic threatened lawsuits, and after they were listed as other groups spreading falsehoods about Dominion in the lawsuit by Dominion against Giuliani.[11][12][13][14]

Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell on January 8, 2021 and against Giuliani on January 25, 2021, asking for $1.3 billion in damages from each.[15][16] Both lawsuits accused Powell and Giuliani of waging a "viral disinformation campaign" against the company involving "demonstrably false" claims.[15][14] In the lawsuit against Powell, the company stated that Powell had "doubled down" after Dominion formally notified her that her claims were false, and had posted on Twitter to spread false claims to over one million followers.[71] One of Dominion's attorneys explained they had filed the lawsuit against Powell first "because she's been the most prolific and in many ways has been the originator of these false statements".[15] The suit against Giuliani is based on more than fifty statements by Giuliani made on his podcast, at legislative hearings, on Twitter, and in conservative media, and alleges that Giuliani made false statements about the company in an attempt to earn money from legal fees and through his podcast.[14]

After Dominion filed the lawsuit against Powell, One America News Network removed all references to Dominion and Smartmatic from its website without issuing public retractions.[17][18]

On February 16, 2021, Dominion announced that they would be filing a lawsuit against Lindell in response to One America News Network airing a program by Lindell titled Absolute Proof that repeated his false claims about the 2020 election.[72][73] Six days later, Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against My Pillow and Lindell. The lawsuit, which asked for $1.3 billion in damages, alleged, "MyPillow's defamatory marketing campaign—with promo codes like 'FightforTrump,' '45,' 'Proof,' and 'QAnon'—has increased MyPillow sales by 30-40% and continues duping people into redirecting their election-lie outrage into pillow purchases." Dominion further stated its intentions were to stop Lindell from using MyPillow to profit off of election conspiracy theories at the expense of Dominion.[74][75][76][77]

On March 22, 2021, Powell moved to dismiss Dominion's lawsuit against her, arguing that "no reasonable person" would conclude that her accusations against Dominion "were truly statements of fact."[78]

On March 26, 2021, Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that Fox and some of its pundits spread conspiracy theories about Dominion, and allowed guests to make false statements about the company.[19]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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