| 4 December 2023, Monday |

Voting-system firms battle right-wing rage against the machines

The baseless claims that Donald Trump stole the election have sent America’s voting machine vendors into a war for the survival of their industries.

Leaders in the field Dominion Voting Systems and Election Systems & Software are fighting a ground war in politics and public relations to stave off threats to their state and local government contracts that are based on unfounded rumors of vote tampering. Dominion has also used the legal system, bringing eight defamation cases against Trump supporters and media organizations like Fox News.

The efforts to fight misinformation have so far blocked any significant loss of business, in part because many counties and states are locked into long-term contracts for voting systems. But the companies are nonetheless taking the election-denial movement seriously as the belief in voter-fraud fictions continues to gain mainstream acceptance on the right. About two-thirds of U.S. Republicans say they believe the election was stolen from Trump, Reuters polls show.

Whenever companies “face a tsunami of suspicion and distrust of their products, that poses an existential threat to their livelihood and survival,” said Mark Lindeman, policy and strategy director at Verified Voting, a U.S. nonprofit that promotes the use of secure voting technology.

Dominion faces the most intense opposition because the company has featured prominently in right-wing theories alleging its equipment flipped votes from Trump to Biden in 2020. In all, Dominion has faced campaigns in at least a dozen jurisdictions across eight states by officials or activists seeking to replace Dominion voting systems based on unproven fraud allegations, according to a Reuters review of government records and interviews with local officials.

Among the risks: a statewide voting-systems contract Dominion holds in Louisiana, which Trump won handily. Officials there have indefinitely delayed awarding a new contract worth about $100 million amid pressure from pro-Trump, anti-machine activists.

  • Reuters