Dominion Voting CEO: 'Disinformation campaign' defies logic

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News
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Lansing — John Poulos, CEO of Dominion Voting Systems, which has become a magnet for conspiracy theories about the Nov. 3 election, told Michigan lawmakers Tuesday that there were no "switched or deleted votes" involving his company's machines.

"The disinformation campaign being waged against Dominion defies facts or logic," Poulos said. "To date, no one has produced credible evidence of vote fraud or vote switching on Dominion systems because these things simply have not occurred.”

Poulos appeared virtually before the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee on Tuesday afternoon as President Donald Trump and his supporters continue their push to discredit the results of the election with unsubstantiated claims of fraud.

Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos, right, is sworn in before appearing before the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee on Tuesday. At left is Greg Brower, an attorney who appeared with Poulos.

Dominion Voting Systems has taken center stage. Its technology is used in 28 states, including Georgia and Michigan, battlegrounds that voted for President-elect Joe Biden. Trump tweeted Tuesday that "Dominion voting machines are a disaster all over the country."

Poulos told lawmakers that amid the "baseless claims" about his company, his employees and family have faced death threats.

"The largest threat, however, has been the assault on confidence in America's democratic process," he said.

In Michigan, which Biden won by 154,000 votes, Dominion serves 63 of the 83 counties. Those counties include reliably Republican Antrim County, where a string of errors led to Biden being ahead in initial results by 3,200 votes.

Election workers in the county realized there were problems with the tallies, and after they were corrected, Trump ended up winning the county by more than 3,700 votes. But the changing numbers ignited claims of fraud and conspiracy theories about Dominion.

"A series of human errors" is why people are talking about Antrim County, Poulos told lawmakers.

In October, county election officials had to add a contest to three of 18 tabulators, he told lawmakers. But officials failed to update all of the tabulator memory cards. Officials also forgot to conduct testing on their final system, he said. Then, a programmer took steps to ensure that the original ballots that were created before the contest was added could still be used in tabulators, Poulos said.

"If all of the tabulators had been updated as per procedure, there wouldn’t have been any error in the unofficial reporting," the Dominion CEO said. "If public logic and accuracy testing had taken place, the error would’ve been caught when it should have been caught, prior to the election.

"If steps weren’t specifically taken to salvage the already printed ballots, the system would not have allowed election officials to upload memory cards, and the reporting error never would have occurred."

On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer, a former state lawmaker, lifted a protective order on information collected by Trump supporters through a forensic analysis of voting machines and data in Antrim County as part of an ongoing legal battle.

That led to the public release of a report by an organization called Allied Security Operations Group, which has previously made false claims about Michigan's election. The new report alleged that Dominion Voting Systems "is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results."

It's unclear how Allied Security Operations Group reached this conclusion, however. Poulos called the report "biased" and said a lot of the conclusions reached in it were "incomprehensible to me."

State elections officials have also denounced the report. And Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican, pushed back on the report, saying Monday that she was saddened by the efforts to discredit the equipment.

"I did read the report and find that there are many misleading statements that are simply not accurate," Guy said.

Poulos said that because Michigan uses paper ballots, a hand recount will be able to show whether the machines' tallies were off. The Michigan Bureau of Elections and Antrim County plan to conduct a hand tally of all ballots cast in the presidential election there.

"All 2020 election audits and recounts conducted thus far of Dominion technology have validated the accuracy and reliability of the results," he said.

Poulos discredited a plethora of conspiracy theories about his Denver-based company as he appeared under oath before the Senate Oversight Committee.

"We have yet to see our critics make their allegations under oath as I am doing here today," he told lawmakers.

In one portion of the new Allied Security Operations Group report, the group said an alleged high "error rate" in election software in Antrim County reflected "an algorithm used that will weight one candidate greater than another." The report then said it "identified" that a ranked-choice voting algorithm — a different voting system based on ranking candidates — was "enabled."

Poulos said it wasn't possible for the ranked choice voting option to have been turned on. Likewise, the company has no connections to China and has never been involved in Venezuelan elections, Poulos said. It also has no ties to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's family or billionaire investor George Soros, he said.

"It is technologically impossible to see votes being counted in real-time or to flip them," he said. "The comments about our company being started in Venezuela with Cuban money with the intent to steal elections are beyond bizarre and are complete lies.”

He added, “My company started in my basement, which happened to be in Toronto."

Tuesday's hearing was the latest in a series of meetings by the Senate and House oversight committees this month, examining the integrity of the Nov. 3 election. The results have already been certified by bipartisan canvassing boards in all 83 counties and by the Board of State Canvassers.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

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