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opinion

A worker passes a Dominion Voting ballot scanner while setting up a polling location at an elementary school in Gwinnett County, Ga., outside of Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021.Ben Gray/The Associated Press

John Poulos is founder and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems.

A lot has been said about the recent U.S. presidential election. Disinformation concerning states that used voting technology from my company, Dominion Voting Systems, has unfortunately been the subject of much discussion.

We have been hit with tsunami of lies, and I’d like to set the record straight.

We did not start our company in Venezuela with Cuban money with the intent to rig elections for Hugo Chávez (or anyone else). We have not, and do not, send votes anywhere (let alone across jurisdictional borders). As the U.S. Army has attested, there was no “raid of Dominion servers in Germany.” The name “Dominion” does not connote some vast evil conspiracy theory.

Here is the truth: I started the company in Toronto, not Caracas. The first investor was my sister, not Fidel Castro. We picked the company name as an homage to the 1920 Dominion Elections Act. For those that don’t know, this piece of legislation removed significant voting barriers, including those focused on voters’ sex, religion, race and economic standing. The ideals encapsulated in that piece of legislation reflected our core purpose in founding the company: increasing election transparency and helping voters vote. We started by helping blind voters vote independently with dignity.

During the past few months, many have asked me how it feels to be attacked by a sitting president. The answer is complicated. Dominion’s systems are tested by the U.S. federal government and 28 U.S. states long before, leading up to, and right after elections. There were no “switched or deleted votes” involving Dominion machines, nor any other type of manipulation. We understand, however, that candidates (and their supporters) can become very emotional over the loss of an election, especially a highly contentious and divisive one.

In times like these, election officials rely on audit trails and recounts to demonstrate complete transparency. Hand recounts of all paper ballots, in conjunction with robust legal avenues for aggrieved candidates to pursue election challenges, have always won the day.

What we are currently living through, however, is different. The creation, dissemination, and amplification of complete falsehoods – seemingly designed to enflame the raw emotions of supporters upset at the election loss – have overshadowed tried and trusted election-transparency procedures. This has been dangerous on so many levels.

Officials who have told the truth have been labelled traitors and targeted for threats of violence. The list of affected parties now extends far beyond Dominion and includes election workers, secretaries of states, judges, members of the Department of Homeland Security, the Army, the attorney-general and even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

While we have felt a spectrum of emotions throughout these events, we keep coming back to feelings of gratitude for the fact that our systems in all the swing states featured a voter-verified paper ballot. Paper ballots preserve the secrecy of the vote while offering complete transparency, and technology can extend paper balloting in an autonomous way to all voters, regardless of the voter’s physical or language abilities.

Eliminating physical and language barriers to voting isn’t the only thing technology can accomplish. Ballot scanners tabulate results far more accurately than humans, especially when ballot counts exceed 500 or feature multiple contests. Ballot scanners also reduce the number of unintentionally spoiled ballots from an estimated six per 1,000 voters to zero by offering voters a chance to confirm the way their ballot is going to be counted while they are casting. Scanners complement polling-place staffing models to enhance the voters’ experience and reduce lineups. They make the recruiting of poll workers required on election day much more attainable for election officials. Ballot scanners can solve a variety of very real election problems, while maintaining the same paper ballot voters have come to trust.

The voter-verified paper ballot is the gold standard in elections. Just look at the State of Georgia, the ground zero of the baseless attacks against our technology and customers. All five million official ballots, cast by five million individual voters, were counted three times: twice by ballot scanners and once by hand by thousands of poll-workers, volunteers and poll-watchers. Each count reaffirmed the official result. Our detractors took to a rally stage in Georgia to allege the televised hand count never happened. It did. And it allowed officials to confidently certify the original results recorded by our machines.

Our very first customer, the City of Quinte West, chose Dominion because our accessible technology was built around a voter-verified paper ballot, and has since come to rely on the system’s accurate and transparent tabulation. It is also why so many have chosen our technology since. We will continue to provide technology to our customers so that they can facilitate transparent, accurate, secure and accessible elections.

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