The claim: Soros has funded voting machines being used in the midterms, and they are rigged
For the 2022 midterm elections, billionaire philanthropist George Soros has contributed more than $128 million to his political action committee, Democracy PAC, which supports Democratic candidates. But some social media users claim he has taken steps to influence the election in another way.
“They’re trying to rig the election again!” reads an Instagram post shared Nov. 7. “Do not trust the Soros funded voting machines!!!”
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But the claim is baseless.
Soros has not funded voting machines used in the midterms, according to his spokesperson and a spokesperson for Verified Voting, a nonpartisan organization that focuses on voting equipment. Multiple companies that own voting machines have also said in past statements that Soros is not an investor.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Experts, voting machine companies say Soros has no ties to equipment
Aurora Matthews, a Verified Voting spokesperson, told USA TODAY in an email there is no evidence Soros has funded any of the voting machines used in the midterms.
Michael Vachon, a spokesperson for Soros, told USA TODAY that the claim is false and Soros has no financial stake in voting machines.
The Open Society Foundations, which Soros founded in 1993 to support democracies worldwide, rebuffed similar accusations in a 2020 tweet, saying that neither the organization nor Soros have “anything to do with voting machines and how they function.” The tweet included a link to an Associated Press article debunking a claim that Soros owned voting machine company Smartmatics.
Smartmatics also says on its website that it is 100% privately owned and that Soros has never had any ownership stake.
Fact check roundup: False claims about election fraud, candidates swirl ahead of 2022 midterms
Other voting machine companies have put forward similar statements in the past. For example, Dominion Voting Systems told the Jefferson County Board of Elections in 2016 the company has no relationship with Soros, his companies or his foundations.
Most election-related costs, including voting machines, fall on localities and counties, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. State and federal governments have chipped in from time to time to help with the costs.
There’s also no evidence that voting machines were rigged in 2020 or are compromised now.
Security experts and election officials have called the 2020 elections the “most secure in American history,” and the AP reported in October that during this year’s primaries “no major problems have been reported.” There is also no indication cyber vulnerabilities in election technology “have contributed to any voting system deleting, losing or changing votes,” according to the CyberSecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
In addition, election officials say there are many safeguards in place to make sure machines count votes accurately and any fraud attempts are identified. Hand counts, recounts and other audits consistently confirmed the results and machine counts
USA TODAY has debunked other claims related to the 2022 midterm elections, including baseless assertions that ballots found in Pennsylvania drop boxes show cheating in the election and that the Postal Service can destroy mail-in ballots with impunity.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Soros has funded voting machines being used in the midterms and they are rigged. There is no evidence Soros has funded voting machines used in the midterms. In addition, multiple voting machine companies have previously said that they have no relationship with Soros or his foundation. Also, there is no proof that voting systems were rigged during the 2020 elections or are currently compromised.
Our fact-check sources:
- The Hill, Nov. 5, Here are the 10 biggest donors in the midterm elections
- Michael Vachon, Nov. 8, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- Aurora Matthews, Nov. 8, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- Lead Stories, Nov. 7, Fact Check: George Soros Did NOT Fund Purchase Of Voting Machines To Rig 2022 Election
- PolitiFact, Nov. 8, No evidence George Soros has funded voting machines in the US
- Smartmatics, accessed Nov. 8, Facts about Smartmatic
- National Conference of State Legislatures, Aug. 3, 2018, Election Costs: What States Pay
- Jefferson County Board of Elections, Oct. 25, 2016, Facebook post
- The Associated Press, March 13, 2020, Soros does not own voting machine company Smartmatics
- The Open Society Foundation, Nov. 10, 2020, Tweet
- Associated Press, Oct. 4, EXPLAINER: Voting systems reliable, despite conspiracies
- CyberSecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, accessed Nov. 8, ELECTION SECURITY RUMOR VS. REALITY
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