If Republican Donald Trump loses the U.S. presidential election to Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday (November 8), don’t be surprised if he and his supporters turn around and blame Canada.
That’s because the Trump camp feverishly believes that Clinton has the diabolical power to control the electronic voting machines used in 58.8 percent of U.S. states.
And it just so happens that something near a majority of the electronic voting machines used in the U.S. are Canadian-made—by Toronto-based Dominion Voting Systems, or one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries: Diebold/Premier or Sequioa.
Scream charges of vote-rigging early and often
Over the last year Trump supporters have woven a counter-factual tissue of
liessuppositions and tenuous associations to variously claim that:
- Hillary Clinton controls the voting machine industry.
- Billionaire Democrat supporter George Soros controls voting machines used in 16 states.
- Electronic voting machine companies have donated to the Clinton Foundation.
Only the last of these three claims has any veracity.
There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Clinton owns, has financial control of, or even holds a penny of stock of, any company involved in making or selling electronic voting hardware.
The Soros rumour is likewise false. Democrat George Soros does not control Smartmatic voting machines. Smartmatic is very emphatic on this point. And anyway, Smartmatic voting machines will not be used in the 2016 U.S. election.
The Soros rumour is based on the exceedingly slim reed of a fact that the Smartmatic Chairman, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, sits on the board of the Soros-founded Open Society Foundations, an international grant-making network.
Voting machine companies and the Clinton Foundation
As this (easier-to-read than the Clinton Foundation’s own site) Washington Post table of Clinton Foundation donors shows, the foundation has received donations linked indirectly and directly to two company involved in electronic voting: Texas-based Hart InterCivic and Toronto-based Domininon Voting.
Sometime before 2014 the Clinton Foundation received a donation from the U.S. investment firm H.I.G. Capital, LLC., of between (US)$50,001 and (US)$100,00. In 2011 H.I.G. announced making a “strategic investment” in Hart InterCivic that gave H.I.G. majority control of Hart’s board.
Dominion Voting is listed in the Washington Post table as having donated between (US)$25,001-(US)$50,000 to the Clinton Foundation in 2014.
On the current Clinton Foundation website, however, the only donation attributed to Dominion is for “DELIAN Project [Dominion Voting]”, which is listed among the donors of (US)$50,001-(US)$100,000. The listing is appended with “^”, marking it as ”exclusively for CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) activities".
The Clinton Foundation describes the DELIAN Project as a three-year initiative (2014-2017) to provide emerging and postconflict democracies with free Automated Voting Machines (AVMs)—specifically, Dominion-donated ImageCast Precinct Optical Scan Tabulators (ICP-322s)—as well as training.
As the project page explains, this AVM sits atop a traditional ballot box during a live election and a voter marks a paper ballot as normal. The paper ballot is then fed through the AVM (which optically records the ballot), and then the ballot is dropped into the ballot box. After the polls close, the AVMs rapidly and accurately tabulate the election results. If a physical hand count is required, the original paper ballots are still available to auditors in the ballot boxes.
The Clinton Foundation says the AVMs being donated by Dominion to DELIAN have been used in large jurisdictions such as Canada, the United States, the Philippines, and Mongolia. Dominion Voting says that, over 100,000 ImageCast Precinct tabulators are “deployed” worldwide.
I don’t know about today, but back in 2005, the City of Vancouver used an AccuVote optical scanner/tabulator for municipal elections that was manufactured by Vancouver-based Global Election Systems. As of 2002 Global had been acquired by Diebold and the technology is now owned by Dominion Voting.
I also don’t know how Dominion’s tax-deductible donations to the Clinton Foundation could possibly implicate it in throwing the U.S. election for Hillary Clinton.
How a Canadian company gained dominion over U.S. voting
Dominion Voting has gained a rather dominant position in the electronic voting hardware market the old-fashioned way—by buying out its competitors.
In May of 2010 Dominion Voting acquired all the physical and intellectual property assets of Ohio-based Premier Election Solutions, which was the 2007 rebranding of Diebold Election Systems. Inc. And then, the very next month, in June of 2010, Dominion bought California-based Sequoia Voting Systems.
Wikipedia says that as of August 2010, Dominion Voting machines were used in 600 jurisdictions in 22 U.S. states. However, these figures seem low when you include the May/June 2010 acquisitions, when it was estimated that Premier machines were used in 1,400 jurisdictions in 33 states and Sequoia machines were used in 300 jurisdictions in 16 states.
Currently, according to numbers gleaned from the website Ballotpedia, 21 U.S. states (41.1 percent) still use non-electronic pen-and-paper, or punch-card ballot systems, while 30 states (58.8 percent) use some form of electronic voting machine.
Of the 30 states using electronic voting machines, or “direct recording electronic systems” (DREs), only five (Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, and South Carolina) are listed as using DREs without a backup paper trail.
No matter how you slice the numbers, it’s likely that a majority (and quite likely a huge majority) of all the electronic voting machines in the United States are from Dominion Voting and its wholly-owned subsidiaries.
Dominion Voting was founded in Canada in 2002. This just happened to be the same year that U.S. president George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) into law.
The purpose of HAVA was to set minimum, nationwide election standards and (to be blunt) make sure that the voting debacle that put George W. Bush in the White House never happened again, by replacing antiquated punch-card voting machines with modern electronic equivalents.
Back when we all waited for the other chad to drop
Sixteen years ago, the 2000 U.S. presidential election, between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, was decided in Bush’s favour when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to end a recount-in-progress of the vote in Florida.
Ending the recount gave Bush the victory in Florida by a mere 537 votes but more importantly, it gave him the Electoral College majority (271 to Gore’s 266) that he needed to become the President-Elect.
There was no end of controversy surrounding both the Florida vote and the results. Democrats, who saw their candidate Al Gore lose the election despite winning the popular vote (48.4 percent to Bush’s 47.9 percent), charged that, one way or another, Florida governor Jeb Bush had rigged the results in favour of his brother George W.
Besides willful fraud, the Florida election recount was largely blamed on the state’s antiquated punch-card voting machines, which were seen to have produced millions of unreadable cards with improperly-punched holes, or “hanging chads“.
In electronic voting machines we mistrust
The interesting thing about the HAVA legislation is that by pushing the states to adopt electronic voting machines, it has combined the long-standing mistrust of incumbents who control the levers of power with the widespread fear of computers.
Thus, one of the unintended consequences of HAVA seems to have been to actually increase the fear of vote-rigging, among both voters and politicians.
Certainly, since 2002 and the rise of electronic voting machines, more and more challengers (whether Democrat or Republican) have publicly complained about electronic voting fraud.
Remember that back in 2003 a Republican was in the White House, Diebold Elections Systems seemed to be winning the majority of HAVA state contracts for electronic voting machines and the CEO of Diebold Inc., Walden W. O’Dell, was known to be both a staunch Republican and a major fundraiser for President George W. Bush.
It was the Democrats who were screaming electronic voting machine fraud in 2004 and fearing that they might never get back into the White House.
But even after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the purchase of Hart InterCivic by H.I.G Capital rang alarm bells for Democrats. That was because, by October of 2012, a year after gaining control of Hart, H.I.G. was the 11th largest contributor to Mitt Romney, the Republican U.S. presidential candidate.
And wouldn’t you know it, on voting day on November 6, 2012, an electronic voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be taken out of service after a voter caught it switching their vote for Obama to one for Romney.
But Obama still won re-election in 2012 and for the most part, since 2002, it has been the challenger and not the incumbent, in any given U.S. election race, that has felt the need to complain about the potential or reality of electronic voting machine fraud.
So arguably, the only new thing about Republican Donald Trump and his supporters crying that the 2016 election is rigged is how early they started crying.
Personally, I’d be more concerned with the fact that, according to Wired magazine, a majority of the states’ electronic voting machines are old enough to be running the incredibly insecure Windows XP operating system (like Pennsylvania’s for example).
Forget Hillary Clinton and her nefarious minions, any script kiddie could take down an XP-based voting machine—that is, if the damn thing doesn’t just freeze by itself or go all “Blue Screen of Death” on election day!
Just thank the stars that not all of the states’ electronic voting machines are networked over the Internet and that the majority of the machines still leave a backup paper trail.
Trump should blame himself if he loses
And again, if Trump does lose on Tuesday, my advice to him and all of his supporters is not to blame the loss on any skulduggery on the part of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, or Canadian-owned voting machines, or anything so far removed.
Instead, they should point the finger at the single most obvious culprit in their midst—someone who also happens to be a Clinton Foundation donor.
That’s right, I’m referring to none other than the Republican candidate Donald J. Trump himself, who, back in 2009, donated to the Clinton Foundation something between (US)$100,001 and (US)$250,000 and who, in 2016, did everything possible to prove that he wasn’t fit to be president of the United States.
Heck, I might even agree with Trump and his supporters if by “rigged” they meant that Donald himself rigged the election by deliberately trying to throw it for Hillary!
And just to be clear about Trump’s donation to what he now calls “the most corrupt enterprise in political history”. While he insists that other donors to the Clinton Foundation received unfair access to then secretary of state Clinton, he certainly didn’t. His hard-put campaign manager/nanny, Kellyanne Conway, told CNN in August that “No, he [Donald Trump] was not paying to play.”
“The Clinton Foundation does a lot of good work,” Conway told CNN, “and I also want to say that for the record that they do”, added the campaign manager, who sometimes sounds too good for her candidate.