Q&A – South Florida’s history w/Dominion voting systems & about 2020


Q&A of the Day – South Florida’s history w/Dominion voting systems & about 2020

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.

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Today’s entry: What’s the story with Dominion voting systems in PA? Are they really attached to Venezuela and Chavez? Are they used in Florida?

Bottom Line: There’s a lot to unpack regarding the Dominion software being called into question in multiple states with contested elections. Most of what’s being discussed is being conflated to a certain degree and it’s important to understand the specific voting systems we’re talking about. To be clear, there’s no evidence Dominion’s systems have been compromised, could be compromised or aren’t reliable. However, there are legacy systems now owned by Dominion which are potentially a problem and could have been corrupted in this election. Specifically, Sequoia voting systems.

Sequoia voting systems has one heck of an awful elections track record. You asked if any related voting systems are used in Florida? Thankfully not anymore. Now what company was responsible for the ballots in 2000 which created pregnant, hanging and dimpled chads? Sequoia. And when they released their next generation products, the problems only grew. By 2004 they were working with a Venezuelan owned company called Smartmatic. The Sequoia voting systems, programmed by Smartmatic, were first used in the 2004 recall election of Hugo Chavez. Chavez won that election by 20% in a vote which was deemed not credible by most outside observers in addition to most Venezuelan voters. Subsequently government watchdogs began investigating the Sequoia systems and in 2006 the US Committee on Foreign Investment investigation into the Smartmatic programmed Sequoia systems determined the following: The role of the young Venezuelan engineers who founded Smartmatic has become less visible in public documents as the company has been restructured into an elaborate web of offshore companies and foreign trusts. Additionally, it was found that the systems could be manipulated by users to flip votes from one candidate to another and could be easily hacked. With worldwide attention on these systems, led by the Bush administration at the time, Smartmatic sold Sequoia in December of 2006. This is the root of the Venezuelan conspiracy involving Dominion.

Sidney Powell has been the leading voice in the current national conversation regarding Dominion’s voting systems. Dominion’s company owned systems are in place in approximately a third of the country. This includes all currently contested states in the Presidential election this year – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Most of those systems are actual Dominion voting systems. Some however, are legacy Sequoia voting systems now owned by Dominion. In 2010, then Canadian owned, now Colorado based, Dominion bought the Sequoia voting systems and many Diebold voting systems as they looked to expand their footprint throughout the United States. That takes us to where we are today.

Sequoia had a sizeable footprint in the United States with the paper ballot systems, a la Florida 2000. When they rolled out the electronic systems in 2004, many local governments across the country simply upgraded to their new electronic version rather than doing their homework on who was behind the systems and how reliable they may or may not be. By the way, Palm Beach County was one of those governments. As a result, Sequoia’s highly questionable Venezuelan programmed voting systems were deployed across the United States. So, fast-forward to today. If a local government implemented the Sequoia voting system around 2004 but hasn’t replaced those systems – they're still being used. In fact, that was still the case in Palm Beach County as recently as the 2018 election debacle. It was the Sequoia software which was replaced by Wendy Sartory Link as one of her first acts after taking over as PBC’s election’s supervisor from Susan Bucher.

Here’s the bottom line. There aren’t many Sequoia systems left across the country – but they exist. In counties where you’ve heard of tabulations which seemingly flipped Trump votes to Biden votes, that’s not only possible with compromised Sequoia systems, it’s what’s believed to have occurred from the beginning in the election of Chavez in 2004. These systems need to be eliminated from any US election asap. Auditing of votes in all counties where these systems are used should be a given. But no, Dominion systems aren't known to be an issue and Dominion itself isn’t an operator of questionable origins (unless you have a natural aversion to Canadians), but the systems they inherited with the purchase of Sequoia are a problem.

Photo Credit: Getty Images