Dominion CEO: Michigan vote fraud claims ‘beyond bizarre’ and ‘dangerous’
Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos on Tuesday rebuked what he called “dangerous” claims about the company’s voting equipment to Michigan lawmakers investigating allegations of election fraud.
Testifying for three hours before the Senate Oversight Committee hearing in Lansing on Tuesday, Poulos said claims that the company’s voting equipment switched votes from President Donald Trump to Joe Biden are part of a broad effort to sow confusion.
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“The disinformation campaign waged against Dominion defies facts or logic,” he said. “To date, no one has produced credible evidence of fraud or vote switching on Dominion Systems because these things simply did not occur.”
The Denver-based company — the second largest supplier of election equipment nationwide — has been at the center of conspiracy theories after a Republican clerk in 23,000-person Antrim County made a mistake in reporting unofficial results in the Nov. 3 election that attributed Trump votes to Biden.
The error was quickly corrected, and Trump ended up winning the GOP stronghold in northern Michigan by more than 3,000 votes.
The theory that the machines switched votes is one of several “beyond bizarre claims” that have arisen about Dominion, Poulos said.
The Antrim County issue was a human mistake that likely began in October when elections officials didn’t update ballot tabulator memory cards with a new ballot item, Poulos explained. A public logic and accuracy test probably was not performed in October, he said, which would have caught the error.
Cybersecurity experts have found no evidence votes were switched or deleted on Dominion Voting Systems’ machines, Poulos said.
The company has “no ties to Hugo Chavez, the late dictator of Venezuela,” despite claims from former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell.
Nor was it started with “Cuban money with the intent to steal elections,” Poulos said. Instead, the company was launched in a Toronto basement in 2003 to help blind people vote on paper ballots.
“No Cuba. No China. No Venezuela,” he said in a forceful opening statement to lawmakers.
Poulos said Trump received more votes in jurisdictions that used Dominion Voting Systems in several battleground states than in other jurisdictions that used different election equipment vendors.
In Michigan, Trump won 59 of the 65 counties that used Dominion in the election that Biden won by 154,000 votes.
Poulos also told lawmakers that a Dominion conspiracy to rig the election would not be possible because once its machines are sold, they are under local elections officials’ control.
“The most important thing to understand about Dominion is this: we do not run elections,” he said.
Even so, the “complete lies” about Dominion Voting Systems have fueled death threats to election officials, company employees and Poulos and his family, he said.
The testimony is the latest in a House and Senate joint investigation into rampant, unproven accusations of election fraud promoted by Trump and his supporters.
Unlike other witnesses — including Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and GOP election challengers — lawmakers administered an oath to Poulos after declining to do so during earlier hearings.
The committee also voted Tuesday to issue subpoenas to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and Livonia City Clerk Susan Nash for information regarding the election, after previously demanding records on absentee ballot applications and voter registration encouragement letters sent by Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
“There are a lot of people who lost trust in the election process because of how this turned out and. . . what they've seen and heard since election day,” House Oversight Committee Chair Matt Hall, R-Marshall, told Bridge.
The long-awaited testimony from Dominion followed a Monday decision from Grand Traverse County Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer to allow the Trump-aligned Allied Security Operations Group to share results from a “forensic analysis” about Dominion Voting System tabulators from Antrim County.
On Tuesday, Poulos called the report “categorically false and technically incomprehensible.”
The report was authored by Russel Ramsland, a cybersecurity analyst and Trump supporter who last month claimed in a Trump campaign lawsuit affidavit that turnout rates were as high as 120 percent in several Michigan precincts.
He came to the conclusion by confusing precincts in Minnesota with those from Michigan.
Ramsland, who is part of the management team for the Allied Security Operations Group, said analysts found a 68 percent “error rate” in the tabulation log of the server. It’s unclear what this error rate references.
The report concluded the results of Antrim County are not certifiable due to this “machine/and or software error.” In a Monday tweet, Trump called the report “BIG NEWS” and proof that Dominion “changed the results of a landslide election.”
This is BIG NEWS. Dominion Voting Machines are a disaster all over the Country. Changed the results of a landslide election. Can’t let this happen. Thank you for the genius, bravery, and patriotism of the Judge. Should get a medal! https://t.co/4WwiA83Prg— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2020
Several of the allegations from the report are false and easily verifiable, Poulos said.
Among them, the report alleges “ranked choice voting was enabled” on tabulators, but Michigan does not use ranked choice voting, which requires unique ballots, and “it can’t be accidentally turned on,” Poulos said.
Tabulators were not connected to the internet in Antrim County, as the report suggests, but to a local area network which has no connection to the outside world.
He added votes could not have been “switched” from Biden to Trump using digital adjudication software, as the report claims, because adjudication was conducted manually in Antrim County, with bipartisan teams of poll workers reviewing ballots with over-votes to determine a voter’s intent.
Poulos said audits serve as the best way to refute fraud claims and confirm the accuracy of tabulators.
“The most important check on our machines is the paper ballot,” he said. If there was any machine manipulation, paper ballot results would not match the machine totals, he noted.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office is doing just that, Poulos said. On Thursday, the office will complete a “zero-margin” audit of Antrim County in which election officials will hand count all paper ballots to compare to machine-tabulated results.
The procedure is a part of a series of post-election audits, including a statewide risk-limiting audit, that the office plans to confirm the accuracy of election machines from the Nov. 3 election.
“As Attorney General William Barr, the FBI and CISA all have confirmed, this was the most secure election in our nation’s history and we are confident these audits will continue to affirm that truth,” Benson said in a statement.
After the hearing, Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a Republican who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, issued a statement saying Poulos’ testimony Tuesday should end “false claims of tabulator manipulation in the November election.
“The spread of misinformation about this election must stop now,” she added.
This article is made possible through Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of Votebeat’s republishing policy.
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