Florida, ground zero for some serious election controversy in the past, had smooth sailing this year when smaller states did not. What did they do right? For one thing, they changed systems.
For all tut-tutting Trump’s court challenges are getting from the chattering class on TV, radio, and in print, one South Florida journalist who’s personally dug into the election issues in 2000 and in 2018 has produced a direct link between those elections and this year’s SNAFUs.
Have you heard of Sequoia?
Thanks to Brian Mudd, a reporter from Florida, you’re about to hear a lot more about it.
Because Sequoia is directly connected to the embarrassingly bad election results two years ago in Palm Beach County (remember that?) as well as the Bush V. Gore nonsense with all those hanging and dimpled chads.
Sequoia voting systems has one heck of an awful elections track record. You asked if any related voting systems are used in Florida? Thankfully not anymore. Now what company was responsible for the ballots in 2000 which created pregnant, hanging and dimpled chads? Sequoia. And when they released their next generation products, the problems only grew. By 2004 they were working with a Venezuelan owned company called Smartmatic. The Sequoia voting systems, programmed by Smartmatic, were first used in the 2004 recall election of Hugo Chavez. Chavez won that election by 20% in a vote which was deemed not credible by most outside observers in addition to most Venezuelan voters. Subsequently government watchdogs began investigating the Sequoia systems and in 2006 the US Committee on Foreign Investment investigation into the Smartmatic programmed Sequoia systems determined the following: The role of the young Venezuelan engineers who founded Smartmatic has become less visible in public documents as the company has been restructured into an elaborate web of offshore companies and foreign trusts. Additionally, it was found that the systems could be manipulated by users to flip votes from one candidate to another and could be easily hacked. With worldwide attention on these systems, led by the Bush administration at the time, Smartmatic sold Sequoia in December of 2006. This is the root of the Venezuelan conspiracy involving Dominion. –BrianMudd
The company itself has changed hands, but the core of their system remained largely unchanged.
Sequoia had a sizeable footprint in the United States with the paper ballot systems, a la Florida 2000. When they rolled out the electronic systems in 2004, many local governments across the country simply upgraded to their new electronic version rather than doing their homework on who was behind the systems and how reliable they may or may not be. By the way, Palm Beach County was one of those governments. As a result, Sequoia’s highly questionable Venezuelan programmed voting systems were deployed across the United States. So, fast-forward to today. If a local government implemented the Sequoia voting system around 2004 but hasn’t replaced those systems – they’re still being used. In fact, that was still the case in Palm Beach County as recently as the 2018 election debacle. It was the Sequoia software which was replaced by Wendy Sartory Link as one of her first acts after taking over as PBC’s election’s supervisor from Susan Bucher.
Here’s the bottom line. There aren’t many Sequoia systems left across the country – but they exist. In counties where you’ve heard of tabulations which seemingly flipped Trump votes to Biden votes, that’s not only possible with compromised Sequoia systems, it’s what’s believed to have occurred from the beginning in the election of Chavez in 2004 –BrianMudd
Florida, with their sketchy history of past election issues, cut ties with the company at the heart of their controversies as the first act of their reforms. (Ballot harvesting was a separate issue that came up.)
And just like that, they turned it around for this year.
Makes you think that questions about the system at the heart of the same issue elsewhere deserves a fair hearing, don’t you think?
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