From Smartmatic to Diebold: Responding (yet again) to partisan worries of vote flips and voting machine ownership...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2016, 6:40pm PT  

It's that time of the election cycle again. Happens every four years. (Every two, actually.) On today's BradCast: That moment when partisans on the Right declare Democrats are stealing the election with voting machines owned by George Soros and Democrats worry that Republicans are doing the same via private companies actually owned by big GOP supporters. [Audio link posted below.]

Both sides see votes flipping on touch-screen systems to their opponents. Both sides declare it only happens to their chosen party. Both sides have reason to worry about private ownership of our electoral systems. Both sides tend to be very selective about their concerns. And both sides do nothing about it until it's time to start freaking out again just before the next election.

The old, previously debunked charge that the progressive billionaire Soros is somehow controlling voting machines across the U.S. re-appeared yet again in the Rightwingosphere over the weekend, only slightly modified from its 2012 version. This time it has resulted in a petition to WhiteHouse.gov --- so far, signed by more than 70,000 since it was posted late last week --- demanding "congress meet in emergency session about removing George Soros owned voting machines from 16 states."

But, of course, as we noted back in 2012, when Democrats were concerned about the actual ownership of voting machine company Hart Intercivic by associates of Mitt Romney, Soros does not own any companies with voting machines in the U.S. He doesn't own any companies with voting machines used elsewhere either, to my knowledge. But the original seed for the persistently false rumor seems to have been planted, in no small part, by The BRAD BLOG's exclusive coverage way back in 2008 of a Venezuelan voting machine company named Smartmatic --- once believed linked to Hugo Chavez --- and their secret ownership of the Intellectual Property (IP) used in voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems. Many of those machines are still used in about 15 states across the country.

Sequoia has since been purchased by a Canadian firm named Dominion Voting, which, like Sequoia before it, lied about Smartmatic's ownership of IP used in Sequoia's machines. But, as I explain on today's program, it could hardly be further removed from Soros who, as it turns out, has absolutely no stake in Smartmatic or any of the other vote counting companies deployed in the U.S..

But, like Democrats, Republicans have every right and reason to be concerned about the obscene private corporate ownership of our nation's public voting and tabulation machinery. (Please petition Whitehouse.gov about that!) As I noted to a reporter seeking comment about the concerns about Romney's ties to Hart Intercivic around this same exact time before the 2012 Presidential Election...

Once again, we're reminded of the dangers of the privatization of our once-public electoral system. The company's ties to Romney aren't the only disturbing ones we've seen with similar companies over the years. The fact is, that nobody other than the public should have any sort of control of our elections. The proprietary voting systems now in use in all 50 states, whether owned by Romney associates, a George W. Bush associate (as with Diebold in 2004) or even a company tied to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (as with Sequoia Voting Systems which blatantly lied about that tie to public officials, and the Canadian firm Dominion which purchased Sequoia and also immediately lied about the fact that Intellectual Property of their voting systems used all across the U.S. is still owned by the Venezuelan firm), continue to be a grave threat to American democracy and confidence in U.S. Elections.

And, like similar clockwork, once again this year we are now hearing the shouts about touch-screen voting machines flipping Democratic to Republican and Republican to Democratic --- and the claims from partisans on both sides that "this only ever happens to Republicans/Democrats!" --- as early voting gets underway in a number of states. Is there legitimate reason to worry about such votes flipping? The answer is both yes and no, with reason for all of us to be ashamed, as I explain on the show today.

Also, not unrelated on today's program: Volkswagen's record billion dollar settlement for programming their cars' software to cheat on emissions tests; GOP Senator in close election warms up to climate change; Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report as pipeline protests rage, China closes coal-fired power plants, Sen. Marco Rubio looks the other way as Florida faces rising seas, and the corporate media ignore all of it during each of this year's Presidential debates...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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