Fact check: Claims linking Dominion Voting Systems to Democrats are wrong or misleading
The claim: Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi linked to voting software company allegedly linked to Michigan election error
One theme in social media posts disputing the presidential election results has been alleged Democratic links to voting equipment. The assertions are wide-ranging and widely shared.
In one social media claim, a Facebook user alleged that the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., holds a controlling stake in Avid Technology, a company that it wrongly claimed provided the software for Michigan's Antrim County. There, 6,000 votes were erroneously shifted from President Donald Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden. Another post says Avid is Dominion's owner.
Another post claims a former aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a lobbyist for Dominion Voting Systems, the company that did provide the voting software in the county.
Others tie Dominion, Pelosi and Feinstein together.
Yet another claim charges that Pelosi and her husband owned the company.
USA TODAY has reached out to several people who have posted various claims.
Dominion-Blum connection arose in Fox News interview
The allegation about fraud came out of an interview with Sidney Powell, a member of Trump’s legal team involved in challenging election results in several states.
In a Nov. 8 appearance on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," Powell alleged that Democrats were stealing the election from Trump by manipulating the Dominion Voting Systems vote-counting software, which is used in more than two dozen states.
At one point, Bartiromo made allegations of a connection between Dominion Voting Systems and Democrats.
"I also see reports that Nancy Pelosi's longtime chief of staff is a key executive at that company; Richard Blum, Sen. Feinstein's husband, a significant shareholder of that company. What else can you tell us about the interests on the other side of this Dominion software?"
Powell replied: "Obviously they have invested in it for their own reasons, and are using it to commit this fraud, to steal votes, I think they have even stolen it from other Dems in their own party, who should be outraged about this also."
Out of this exchange, and other social media claims, there are three things to get straight right away: There is no evidence that the error was caused by software, nor that the company that provided the software has financial ties to any Democratic official, nor that Avid Technology, which does not produce voting software, was involved.
What happened with Antrim County votes?
At issue is the brief misreporting of a number of unofficial votes in Antrim County. State GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox claimed the error was due to “tabulating software glitched and caused a miscalculation of the votes.” The charge was echoed in the same news conference by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement that the misreporting was not a software issue, but a “user human error” and noted that the “correct results always were and continue to be reflected on the tabulator totals tape and on the ballots themselves."
"The equipment and software did not malfunction and all ballots were properly tabulated," she said. "However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results."
Benson added that even if the error in the reported unofficial results had not been quickly noticed, "it would have been identified during the county canvass.”
More: Fact check: False claim that deceased Michigan man voted in 2020
Are Pelosi, Feinstein linked to software company?
While Michigan officials have emphasized that human error was the cause of the error, the Facebook posts have focused on purported links between the Democratic Party and the company.
Bartiromo, and some social media claims, noted correctly a link to Pelosi: Nadeam Elshami, Pelosi's former chief of staff, is a lobbyist for Dominion.
But Dominion lobbyists have also included Republicans, namely Jared Thomas, a former campaign manager and elections staffer for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp when he served as secretary of state, overseeing elections, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Bartiromo also claimed, without providing evidence, that Blum, Feinstein's husband, was a major investor in Dominion Voting Systems. Other posts say he invested in Avid Technology, suggesting that it had provided the software.
Some social media sites have been specific, charging that Blum, holds or held 60% ownership in Avid Technology Inc. and that Avid runs the vote software in Michigan.
Avid Technology, a technology and multimedia company, does not have any business related to voting software or machines. Among other things, it produces applications and services focusing on audio and visual content, notably used in production and post-production facilities by film studios and networks.
Dominion Vice President of Government Affairs Kay Stimson told The Dispatch Fact Check that the company "has no financial relationship with Mr. Blum," calling it “a false claim spread on social media."
And there is no connection between Dominion Voting Systems, which has its international headquarters in Toronto and its U.S. headquarters in Denver, and Avid Technology of Burlington, Massachusetts.
Jim Sheehan, vice president of communications for Avid Technology, tells USA TODAY that company "has never had a business or other connection with Dominion Voting Systems."
Regarding Blum, he said that "while Blum Capital was an investor in our company starting in 2006 until earlier this year, it has no holdings in Avid Technology today."
Our ruling: Partly false
It is true that Nancy's Pelosi's former chief of staff is a lobbyist for Dominion Voting Systems, which supplied the election software in Michigan and other states. But Republicans have lobbying ties to Dominion, as well. Also,the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not an investor in Dominion Voting Systems. Moreover, while he was once an investor in Avid Technology through Blum Capital, it no longer has a stake in the company. In any case, Avid is not linked to Dominion Voting Systems and is not engaged in any business related to voting software or voting machines. We find claims of links between Pelosi, Feinstein's husband and Dominion Voting Systems to be PARTLY FALSE.
Our fact-check sources:
The Dispatch Fact Check: "Explaining the False Allegations About Dominion Voting Systems"
Blomberg Government, April 1, 2019, "Voting Machine Firms Add Lobbyists Amid Election Hacker Concerns"
The office of secretary of state Jocelyn Benson, "False claims from Ronna McDaniel have no merit"
Snopes, Nov. 8, "RUMOR ALERT: Dominion Voting Systems Fraud Claims"
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Alleged Dominion-Democrats links are wrong or misleading