Donald Trump’s false voter fraud allegations against Dominion, Smartmatic are dangerous

Supporters of President Donald Trump should be reconsidering their votes. Trump’s behavior these past three weeks has been beyond the pale.

Let us be very precise in our criticism. Some of the president’s legal actions have been acceptable and even upheld in court, although the president has frequently misrepresented these small wins as evidence of widespread voter fraud and falsely claimed they mean he has won the elections in contested states.

Requesting a recount when the outcome is close is a good check on our systems and to date, recounts, audits, and canvass processes have led to small changes in the initial vote tabulations where they have been completed. Trump’s legal team sued in Philadelphia to ensure that poll watchers could get close enough to poll workers to observe their work. Lower courts ruled observers should be permitted to be six feet from poll watchers, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned that ruling last week. Trump uses the initial ruling in his favor to falsely claim that he won in the state of Pennsylvania. Before Election Day, The Supreme Court ruled that ballots in Wisconsin had to arrive at polling centers on or before Election Day regardless of when the envelopes were postmarked. Trump has falsely claimed that this ruling means ballots postmarked after election day in other states are therefore also “illegal.” That is not the case.

Those three cases comprise the entire limited scope of Trump’s legal wins and he has stretched each small valid point beyond credulity to allege widespread voter fraud. None of those cases even dealt with voter fraud, and it’s important to note that many of the actual accusations of fraud Trump and his supporters have promoted have been found to be perfectly legitimate votes.

And now, Trump and his legal team have crossed a line that is far beyond reasonable or rational.

Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell are claiming on behalf of the president of the United States that two companies that sell election hardware and software used their technology to switch millions of votes that were cast for Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

That would be the crime of the century, and if it were true, it would have major ramifications for every contest up and down the millions of ballots cast in the modern era of vote tabulation. We do not believe it is true, but we are terrified that thousands of Americans will believe Trump, Giuliani and Powell despite the complete lack of evidence presented so far. To our horror, the official Republican Party Twitter account tweeted out Powell’s most outlandish accusations. Trump’s accusations that the election is being stolen from him have led to reprehensible threats of violence against Republican and Democratic election officials throughout the country.

Powell has presented no evidence of her claims other than pointing out some very loose (often extremely dated and no-longer existent) connections between two voting software and hardware companies and foreign governments or prominent Democrats. The problem with Powell’s key allegation is that the company that actually has ties to Venezuela — Smartmatic was founded in Venezuela and did receive money from the government during the company’s founding — was only used in one place in 2020: Los Angeles County. So Powell and Giuliani are jumping through elaborate hoops to try to tie the much more widely used Dominion Voting Systems to Smartmatic. Journalists, including a detailed report from The Associated Press, have followed this thread through inquiries and records and found no connection other than that Dominion purchased a smaller company from Smartmatic around 2007. Smartmatic owned the company briefly and sold it after a Democratic congresswoman raised concerns about the potential for a foreign country to be invested in domestic voting systems. Dominion is headquartered in Denver.

According to The Washington Post, the Dominion software called into question by Trump was used in only two out of five counties where the president is alleging votes were switched in Georgia and Michigan. Georgia has just completed counting all 5 million ballots by hand and announced Friday that Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes. If a software company had switched votes, the hand counting would have caught it. Georgia’s in-person election system does use an electronic machine, but that machine then prints a ballot that the voter reviews before casting it. That paper record – the one reviewed by voters — is what was used during the recount.

Do we think there would be merit in a federal investigation launched in a bi-partisan manner to investigate Trump’s claims? No. Substantially more evidence is needed to justify such an endeavor. However, there is strong evidence on social media that thousands of Americans, even some formerly highly regarded Coloradans, believe this election was stolen from Trump. If an investigation could restore even some of their faith in our election systems, then it would be worthwhile.

But what America really needs is for the president to admit this claim has no merit and for him to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and begin the transition process.

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