Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Dominion Voting CEO Denies Allegations, Claims Disinformation

The voting equipment company assured Michigan lawmakers that the many conspiracy theories surrounding the election night error in Antrim County were baseless, dangerous disinformation.

(TNS) — The CEO of Dominion Voting Systems told Michigan lawmakers Tuesday his company has been targeted in "a dangerous and reckless disinformation campaign," and rebutted allegations that range from Dominion tabulators flipping votes between candidates to the company having ownership ties to the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

John Poulos testified by video feed for three hours before the Senate Oversight Committee, flanked by company attorney Greg Bower.

Dominion has been at the center of a range of conspiracy theories surrounding the Nov. 3 election, many of them linked to an election night error in reporting unofficial results from Antrim County, one of 65 Michigan counties that use Dominion equipment.

"These people making baseless claims surely know that they are lies," and are intent on "sowing doubt and confusion over the 2020 presidential election," said Poulos, who was placed under oath by Sen. Ed McBroom, R- Vulcan, the committee chair. But many who hear the claims do not know that and the disinformation has led to death threats against public officials and Dominion employees, including him and his family, Poulos told the committee. "We have yet to see our critics make their allegations under oath, as I am doing here today," testified Poulos, who did not appear challenged by lawmaker questions.

"I heard that you received a large sum of money from outside the country recently," said Sen. Lana Theis, R- Brighton.

"Unfortunately, it's not true," replied Poulos. He said he was aware of the story, involving a Swiss bank account, but "this one is bizarre and completely unfounded."

In Antrim, a solidly Republican county in northern Michigan, initial unofficial results sent to the state and disseminated to the public showed Democratic President-elect Joe Biden winning more county votes than Republican President Donald Trump.

The results were soon corrected, showing Trump beat Biden in Antrim by about 4,000 votes out of about 16,000 cast. Trump won 91% of the mostly smaller Michigan counties that use Dominion voting equipment, state records show.

Poulos said, as state and county officials have repeatedly said earlier, that the initial error was the result of a mistake the Republican county clerk made when she updated ballot information placed on memory cards in the vote tabulators, after learning candidate names had been inadvertently omitted. Instead of updating the cards in all tabulators, as she should have, Guy only updated the memory cards used in tabulators in the affected precincts. Because the ballot information in the various tabulators no longer matched, numbers were transposed and inaccurately reported when the candidate numbers from the various precincts were combined to compile the unofficial results.

Poulos added a new element, saying the mistake in updating the ballot information should have been detected through pre-election testing. But the county either forgot to conduct that testing or conducted it too early, before the ballot information was updated to add the names of missing candidates, he said.

A consultant's report based on an examination of 22 Antrim tabulators, ordered released by a Michigan judge Monday, is "severely flawed" and was prepared by "a biased, non-independent organization," he said.

The Allied Security Operations Group report is signed by Russell Ramsland, a cybersecurity analyst and former Republican congressional candidate who mistook voting jurisdictions in Minnesota for Michigan towns in one recent flawed analysis of voter turnout in the Nov. 3 election. In another, filed in support of a federal lawsuit filed in Michigan, he made inaccurate claims about voter turnout in various Michigan municipalities, claiming that Detroit, where turnout was 51%, had turnout of 139%, and that North Muskegon, which had turnout of 78%, had voter turnout of 782%.

The report alleged that the Dominion system was designed to allow votes to be shifted from one candidate to another, but Poulos said that is false.

"The most important check on our machines is the paper ballot. Michigan has paper ballot records for every vote cast on a Dominion machine," he said.

"If there was any manipulation of the system, the paper ballots would not match the machine totals. Moreover, if unauthorized votes were somehow added to the count, those numbers would not match the canvassing."

Trump's attorneys have seized on the Antrim story and Trump tweeted Monday and Tuesday about the Allied Security Operations Group report. But Trump never requested a paper ballot recount in Antrim, as was his right. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said such a recount of the votes cast for president in Antrim County will begin this week.

Poulos also testified that:

Dominion tabulators are not connected to the Internet. In some jurisdictions, though not in Antrim, cellular modems are used for very brief periods, after the polls are closed, to transmit unofficial results from the precincts to the county headquarters. In Antrim, the tabulator memory cards are sealed and delivered to the county clerk by hand and there is no Internet connectivity at all, he said. Dominion systems, which are subject to rigorous testing and certification at the federal and state levels, have no "fractional voting," under which ballot numbers are converted to vote numbers based on an algorithm or points system, as Matthew DePerno, a Portage attorney representing plaintiff William Bailey in an Antrim County lawsuit, has alleged. Dominion, which began in Canada in 2003 and moved its headquarters to Colorado in 2010, has no ties to China, Venezuela, billionaire George Soros, or a company named Smartmatic. Dominion does not use or license Smartmatic software, he said. In 2009, Smartmatic licensed the use of a Dominion tabulator for use in the Philippines, but that relationship is long over, he said. The only other indirect connection is that Dominion in 2010 purchased assets from Sequoia Voting Systems, and Smartmatic briefly owned Sequoia between 2005 and 2007. The Smartmatic allegations are connected to a conspiracy theory connecting Dominion with Chavez.

"These falsehoods I've just listed are only a sampling of the most egregious lies," Poulos testified.

"The disinformation campaign being waged against Dominion defies facts or logic. To date, no one has produced credible evidence of fraud or vote switching on Dominion systems because these things simply have not occurred."

(c)2020 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Special Projects