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Post Giving Giuliani a Hand: Scrutinizing Dominion Voting and Smartmatic
Created by John Eipper on 11/22/20 3:53 AM

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Giving Giuliani a Hand: Scrutinizing Dominion Voting and Smartmatic (A. J. Cave, USA, 11/22/20 3:53 am)

Analyzing the 2020 presidential elections is beginning to look like kicking a hornet's nest.

Rudy Giuliani and his band of lawyers were too high strung during their voter fraud press conference last Thursday and they were trolled mercilessly by the attending media. Once some sort of dark dye (?) began to drip down the sides of Giuliani's embattled face, it became visually too distracting (like that pesky fly on Vice President Pence's head during the VP debate), so I switched to audio only.

President Trump's legal team lost the control of their narrative on the voter fraud early on. And they didn't really understand the voting systems they were talking about. Not a good combination.

I am a Democrat, but I am going to give them a hand and sort out the two companies (based on publicly available sources) that were mentioned in that press conference:

1) Dominion Voting Systems

2) Smartmatic

Disclaimer: These are my personal views.

Now. First, Dominion Voting Systems.

I have personal experience with DVS machines, because they're the ones used in my precinct.

I can usually figure my way around new technology. I can say that the first time I voted using DVS machines a few years ago, it took me twice as long as usual, just trying to read the instructions on turning the knobs this way or that way, keep going back to previous screens to make sure my vote had been recorded correctly (they weren't). The biggest problem was that the machine was not intuitive (meaning designed by clueless engineers). I was so flustered and frustrated that I would have poked myself in the eye if I could find a fork.

My sister, a software engineer by training, who usually is my go-to guru when I reach my level of incompetence, had a similar reaction. What the f***? Who the h*** bought these pieces of s***?

Enough French.

When I pulled the Wikipedia page on Dominion, it looked like Texas had rejected them three times and California had reservations about them, and even though they had found many vulnerabilities in those machines, including the feature (a security no-no) on some of their systems to load data from a USB drive, they signed the lucrative purchase orders anyway.

According to a 2018 article in the Scientific American, "The Vulnerabilities of Our Voting Machines," Dominion Voting Systems costs the taxpayers a whopping $30 per vote, compared to $10 per paper ballot. They're the most expensive among all the voting machines vendors and supposedly used by 70,000,000 voters in the U.S.--28 states, including California, Illinois, New York, and all the battleground swing states.

Now, here is when it gets interesting. Giuliani et al. referred to Dominion as a foreign company and media, among them CNN, made a big show of "fact-checking" those "baseless" claims, standing in front of Dominion's Denver offices and declaring that Dominion was a US company based in Colorado.

Nope.

Dominion is a Canadian company gobbling up a number of US voting system vendors. In 2018, Dominion was sold to a US private equity firm called STAPLE STREET CAPITAL III, L.P., with $400 million under management, which in turn is owned by a shell company called Staple Street Capital Management, listed in New York City. Since they were mentioned publicly, all the information about their management and board of directors and employees has been removed from their website and the profiles of their co-founders have vanished from LinkedIn.

But they can't wipe out all the information about themselves. They have a FORM D on file with SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) which lists Stephen (Steve) Owens and Hootan Yaghoobzadeh (a Jewish Iranian) as the co-founders and managing directors and former alums of Cerberus Capital Management and the Carlyle Group.

https://docoh.com/filing/1827586/0001827586-20-000001/D

The names, like Soros and Clinton, Giuliani was dropping during the press conference are actually connected to the Carlyle Group.

Why would a private equity firm by Carlyle group alums want to own a Canadian voting system vendor who covers half of the US states that collectively control the minimum number of electoral votes needed to win a US presidential election?

I call that a "smoking gun."

I forgot to mention that according to a piece in Computerworld in 2016, "HACKING THE VOTE: one election system vendor uses developers in Serbia." That vendor is Dominion. And their software is proprietary, meaning we have no way of knowing what is the code like. Yikes!

Now, Smartmatics.

Good grief. Another voting systems vendor and competitor of Dominion.

Nope. Dominion doesn't use Smartmatic's software. But, Smartmatic's software is also proprietary and we have no way of knowing what is in their code.

This one was started in Venezuela by three Venezuelan engineers after the Bush-Gore ballots fight. They registered their company in US, and as far as I can tell, in my view they should have never been allowed to operate here. Their history is as messy as Dominion, but they have fewer clients--Los Angeles only in 2020 elections. They focus on South America and moved their headquarters to London and have British connections that are beyond my pay grade.

In November of 2020, Peter Neffenger, the Chairman of Smartmatic's USA Board of Directors (not their CEO) has joined Mr Biden's agency review team under the Department of Homeland Security as a volunteer.

Can I claim that $1 million prize now?

JE comments:  A. J. Cave gives us enough ammunition to ask whether Dominion could have flipped a master switch to miraculously change the election results.  With proprietary software, one never knows.  But what is the connection, if any, between voting machines and mail-in ballots?  In most of the swing states, it was the latter that swung the vote in Biden's direction.

I'm always seeking value, in my personal finances, with WAIS, and in government.  Why the heck should a machine vote cost three times more than a paper ballot?  I'm going to seek out that article in Scientific American.


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  • More On the Dominion Voting Systems Controversy (Alan Levine, USA 11/22/20 10:50 AM)
    AJ Cave (November 22nd) did great work with a great explanation. To JE's final question, what do the Dominion Voting System machines have to do with mail-in ballots: well, how do you think mailed-in ballots are counted? They are run through the machines too.

    The allegations note that when counting millions of ballots with a difference of tens of thousands, the counting algorithm need be tweaked only a tiny fractional amount, say .0045--and there's your election.


    JE comments: Is the "flip a switch, win an election" theory becoming mainstream?  In WAIS, this would appear to be the case.  To quiet the naysayers everywhere, nothing short of a thorough hand-counting of millions of paper ballots will do.  Possibly not even that.


    Is attorney Sidney Powell the author of the Dominion conspiracy theory?  If so, it's a clever one.  Even the company's name sounds un-American:  Dominions suggest Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, not the United States. 


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    • We Have Seen No Evidence of Election Fraud...But It's Certainly Possible (Alan Levine, USA 11/23/20 3:51 AM)
      To clarify: I don't believe a massive fraud happened in the November 3rd election.  I haven't seen evidence. Just because something is owned by or has an affiliation with something else does not prove abuse. Those kinds of connections ought to sober the mind, but sloppy insinuations and possibilities do not equal actuality.

      At the same time, one has to be willfully obtuse or just so happy with the most recent election results that they gladly stick their head in the sand to believe that such abuse is not possible.


      After the 2016 election with the allegations and concerns of Russian tampering, much energy went into exploring the security of electronic voting systems. Every study concluded that there were massive vulnerabilities. It is not an accident that much of the scientific research cited by A. J. Cave is from years before this election. It was originally driven by concern that Trump benefited from fraud, not the other way around.


      But what did our state governments do about it? Precious little. After a little while the public forgot--until the next time. So goes democracy.


      For those who doubt that such systems can be hacked, these voting systems are relatively cheap and crappy compared to the gigantic safety systems of our biggest corporations, say of Google, banks, and hotels--not to mention the Federal government. Yet Google, banks, hotels and the Federal government have been hacked!


      If Google can't protect itself, do you think state politicians who know little about anything and hardly ever face accountability for anything have the incentive and attention span to make sure voting systems are secure? They let state-level civil servants take care of it. Ah, now I feel that my sacred vote is secure. Do you?


      Again, I have seen no evidence of massive fraud in this election, but you have to be an ostrich to not realize the vulnerabilities of the system.


      JE comments:  Yes, it's possible.  At least since the 2000 debacle, the US goes through a quadrennial exercise of how to make elections air-tight.  And then, as Alan Levine points out, we forget about it until the next contest.  One can only conclude that our antediluvian methods are a political, not technological, problem.


      Let's tap into the WAIS brain trust:  what are the voting "best practices" in other nations?


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  • A Way to Eliminate the Electoral College "Problem" (Paul Pitlick, USA 11/23/20 5:31 AM)

    I have learned over the years that A. J. Cave knows a lot about a lot of things. The Republicans have spent the last four years trying to limit the votes of people who don't look like them. We would have benefited from them actually doing something about election security, instead of tilting at imaginary windmills.



    But surely, a solution to the current problem is not to disallow the votes of urban areas with a high African-American population. If we are going to recount one state because of a theoretical problem with their machines, don't all of the states that used that machine need to be audited? It's also interesting that in Pennsylvania where some counties allowed voters to "fix" their ballots, and other counties didn't, the Republican solution was to invalidate "fixed" ballots. Wouldn't it be better to allow the everyone to "fix" ballots, not just the select counties--count every vote!



    As we see, the people who are trying to cheat now are the Republicans. Are we sure that the states who barely voted for the current president didn't actually vote for Biden, if we counted all the votes? Auditing only a few select states may just skew the information. Biden handily won the popular vote. Hard to believe that faulty voting machines really switched 3,000,000+ votes.



    By the way, there is a simple way to de-fang the Electoral College (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact ). It doesn't require a constitutional amendment. Rather that spending a paragraph explaining it here, it's simple to look up. The Democrats should get this finished in the next four years, especially if the Republicans succeed in stealing this year's election. So far, all the court cases have gone against them, but it ain't over until it's over.


    JE comments:  The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a commitment from the participating states to grant their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.  It's tantamount to eliminating the Electoral College, but doesn't require amending the Constitution.  Although approval is pending in Red states Texas and South Carolina, as well as the classic "swinger" Ohio, so far the measure has been enacted only in reliably Blue states.  Presumably the goal is to avoid a repeat of 2000 or 2016, both of which resulted in Democratic losses.  Thus, I predict, the measure is doomed to fail--at least until a Republican wins the popular vote but loses in the EC.  And with the modern voting record of behemoth California, I cannot see how this will ever happen.


    Returning to Dispute 2020, yesterday's big news was the dismissal/disowning by Trump's legal team of maverick lawyer Sidney Powell, the author of the Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy theory.  I'm curious what the full story is here.

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