Disinformation is an oft-used tactic to cast doubt on facts, basic truths, and scientific evidence. Though not a new tactic, disinformation has been turbo-charged by the internet and social media. Recent disinformation campaigns have attempted to impugn the integrity of voting officials and have attacked companies, including my own, with made-up claims of vote manipulation. Such claims have been soundly debunked by fact checkers and election experts.
Attacks against fair and independently verified elections not only attempt to compromise the will of the people, they deceitfully cast aspersions on the companies who have worked to provide technology to assist elections and the public officials dedicated to election integrity. It is also an insult to all the voters who exercised their right to vote. Although Smartmatic did not provide any products or otherwise operate in any swing state in the 2020 election, the slander being thrown around cause serious harm not just to our company, but to the entire elections industry and — more importantly — democracy itself.
Smartmatic has a proven record
Right after we founded Smartmatic, we witnessed the 2000 election in the U.S., including the “hanging chad” debacle in Florida. As computer engineers, we knew we could use technology to enhance the integrity of the voting process. That became our mission and the mission of Smartmatic. We designed our technology to enable all election stakeholders to audit the entire voting process from end-to-end.
Over the last two decades, Smartmatic has provided the technology to process nearly 5 billion auditable votes without a single spoiled vote or security breach. All of those votes have included an auditable paper trail, which is now universally accepted as the gold standard of voting systems. In fact, Smartmatic was the first elections company to implement a paper trail as a necessary condition of our systems — something that all other elections vendors eventually copied, and which the United States has been gradually embracing, with now widespread adoption in 2020.
Smartmatic software code has been open to audits by all political parties in all countries where we operate. Elections conducted with Smartmatic technology have been validated by world renowned institutions such as the Carter Center, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the European Union. Additionally, as it so happens, Smartmatic technology was only used in this election by Los Angeles County in California, which we successfully supported in completely modernizing and transforming its voting system. All claims questioning the integrity of our system or the accuracy of the results verified by election officials have been forcefully dismissed by elections experts everywhere.
That is why we feel compelled to take a stand against these types of misinformation campaigns and the organizations and people that irresponsibly and maliciously promote them. Accordingly, Smartmatic recently issued legal notices and retraction demand letters to Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network, as well as to Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani individually, for publishing false and defamatory statements about Smartmatic and the role it played in the recent election. Moreover, in our demand letters, we informed them that Smartmatic is reserving all of its legal rights and remedies, including its right to pursue defamation claims in litigation.
Election officials were heroic
In the midst of the constant barrage of manufactured claims, the steadfast resolve of election officials to ignore the noise and focus on their important work is nothing short of heroic. As for all of us involved in elections — technology companies, election workers, policymakers, and patriotic volunteers — we need to redouble our efforts to ensure transparency, access for all voters, efficiency and security in all future elections. To accomplish this, it is imperative that the U.S. invest in continuing to modernize its election infrastructure.
There will always be room for improvement, from systems to swiftly register new voters and authenticate voters at polling stations, to streamline counting, reducing wait times and other obstacles to voting, and enfranchising the military, diplomats and other eligible overseas voters. Disinformation about the elections system in the U.S. is a danger to democracy, and to the cherished principles and institutions that sustain it. As we congratulate election officials and workers for the remarkable feat of conducting a fair and efficient election in the midst of a pandemic, we should recognize the danger signals emanating from disinformation and continue to build resilience into our election processes ahead of the 2022 elections.
Antonio Mugica is CEO of Smartmatic. Follow him on Twitter: @antoniomugica
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: We’re fighting disinformation about election technology: Smartmatic CEO