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Dominion Sues Newsmax and OANN for Defamation

Dominion Voting Systems demanda a Newsmax y OANN por difamación

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After the controversial elections of last November 2020, which gave the winner to current President Joe Biden, Dominion Voting Systems, a Canadian company in charge of electronic voting in many states of the country, launched a legal crusade against different political and media actors that made harsh and unproven assertions about the “electoral fraud” denounced by former President Donald Trump. Newsmax and OANN, both conservative media outlets, joined the list of Dominion’s defendants.

“Newsmax helped create and cultivate an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings, and Dominion engaged in a colossal fraud to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by rigging the vote,” Dominion Voting Systems’ lawyers said in a lawsuit.

On OANN, the Canadian company claims the media outlet interviewed a fake “math expert” who was actually a simple installer or technician for a company that builds swings on Long Island.

Dominion is asking each of these two media organizations for $1.6 billion in damages for defamation. Prior to OANN and Newsmax, the electronic vote tallying company filed lawsuits against Fox News, Sidney Powell, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, and attorney Rudy Giuliani who also accused Dominion of participating in a voter fraud scheme.

So far, allegations of voter fraud by former President Trump (also made by the aforementioned actors) were not substantiated in state and federal investigations.

“This barrage of lies by the defendants and others have caused —and continue to cause— severe damage to our company, customers, and employees,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement sent to NBC News. “We have no choice but to seek to hold those responsible to accoun.”

Newsmax defended itself against Dominion’s lawsuit, with a spokesperson telling NBC that “while Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 Presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”

A worker processes and verifies absentee ballots at the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., November 05, 2020. (EFE)

The path of Dominion voting systems

Beyond the fact that allegations of fraud were not proven, the November elections were controversial, from the massive use of vote-by-mail voting to the inflammatory allegations of former President Trump. All this in the midst of a pandemic that generated an unprecedented health and economic crisis across the globe. In that context, Dominion Voting Systems was embroiled in controversy by Trump’s lawyers and conservative media reports.

El American, in a report, elaborated an account of Dominion’s path to becoming one of the leading e-voting companies in the United States. It all started with the acquisition of Sequoia Voting Systems in 2010, a controversial electronic voting company that worked with software developed and patented by the company Smarmatic, involved in several cases of electoral fraud around the world.

At that time, by acquiring Sequoia, Dominion took 20% of the American electoral market. However, the Canadian company not only bought Sequoia in 2010, but also acquired Premier Election Solutions, known as Diebold/Premier; taking 50% of the electoral market in the United States in just one year. According to a Huffington Post report published in 2017, two competing companies remained: ES&S, with 40 %, and Hart InterCivic, with 10 %.

Dominion took advantage of two market opportunities, the first being that the Department of Justice required ES&S to sell Premier Election, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of this company, over concerns of possible monopoly. The second was with Sequoia, where there was also an obligation to sell, since it was a company closely related to Smartmatic, and many political actors (including Democratic congressmen) pressured for Smartmatic to be left without influence within the American electoral system. Thus, Sequoia ended up being sold and Dominion took advantage of the situation to take over a large part of the American electoral market.

“It’s not exactly an oligopoly, but it’s as if it were,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology political science professor Charles Stewart told The Wall Street Journal, in view of the skillful way in which the companies that offer the electronic voting service moved.

A voter casts his ballot at an early voting polling station for the U.S. presidential election in Houston, Texas, U.S., Oct. 15, 2020. (EFE)

After acquiring both companies, Dominion was a success. “Election Systems & Software LLC and Dominion Voting Systems, both companies, produce the technology used by more than three-quarters of American voters, according to a forthcoming report by researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,” reads the Oct. 28 Wall Street Journal article.

However, Dominion is having trouble entering the market in some states, such as Texas, which has rejected the Canadian company’s software and hardware on three occasions because of doubts about the security of the machines provided.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

Contacto: emmanuel.rondon@elamerican.com

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