Ohio county rejects Dominion machines amid pressure by Trump supporters

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Dominion Voting Systems lost a sale of more than 1,400 new machines on Wednesday after commissioners for Stark County, Ohio, voted down the purchase — against a recommendation from the county’s board of elections. The decision was celebrated by Look Ahead America, an organization created by former Trump campaign staffers, which called on the public to oppose the purchase. 

The three-person board of commissioners cited “trustworthiness” and “public perception or concern regarding a vendor’s long-term viability, regardless of the cause or reason” in their decision

“This board is obliged, in totality of the circumstances to exercise sound discretion on behalf of the citizens of Stark County to conduct the business of the county with due diligence when spending their hard-earned money, without rubber stamping recommendations that come before it, and to seriously investigate the cost, trustworthiness, long-term viability, and other aspects of any voting system to be purchased to ensure Stark County is obtaining the best value; and whenever there exists a potential cloud,” reads the commissioner’s resolution.

Look Ahead America issued a “public call to action” against proceeding with the purchase on February 3. That directive was followed by a flood of phone calls to the commission from Trump supporters opposing the purchase, according to reporting from local newspaper, The Repository

LAA Executive Director Matt Braynard Matthew Baynard tweeted Thursday that the commission’s decision was a victory against “black box” machines, which run on “software and hardware design that is a corporate secret,” according to a press release from the organization.

Former President Trump claimed in November that Dominion had deleted and switched votes intended for him. The unfounded accusation was one of many made by the then-president and his campaign surrogates that widespread voter fraud had occurred in the key battleground states that gave President-elect Joe Biden the necessary Electoral College votes to become the 46th president. 

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the federal agency that oversees election security, disputed the claims at the time. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” CISA said in a statement. In a joint statement, members of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, CISA Assistant Director, the National Secretaries of State, and others called the 2020 election the “most secure in American history.”

Dominion has continued to be plagued by false claims from prominent Trump supporters. In January, the company filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, seeking $1.3 billion in damages after Giuliani launched a wide-reaching “viral disinformation campaign” that the company said exposed it “to the most extreme hatred and contempt.” The next month, Dominion filed another $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit, this time against Trump supporter Mike Lindell, founder and CEO of MyPillow, saying he falsely accused the company of rigging the 2020 presidential election.

Election audits across multiple states have affirmed Dominion’s accuracy during the 2020 election. Recently, more than 250 audits in Michigan, another battleground state, confirmed their this, too. “In addition to the hundreds of audits of local election precincts – the majority of which were conducted by county clerks of both parties – officials also audited every ballot cast for president in Antrim County and found that the Dominion machines used there accurately counted ballots throughout the county,” read a press release from Michigan’s secretary of state. Giuliani made the baseless claim that Dominion’s software had “reversed the vote” in Antrim County. 

Stark County’s Board of Elections is led by Jeff Matthews, a Republican who also chairs the county’s Republican party. Matthews criticized those in his party who insisted that Dominion’s machines could not be trusted without ever substantiating their allegations, The Repository reported. 

“We’re living in an era of disinformation where many people believe things that are simply not true,” Matthews told the paper. 

“Once the great lie is perpetuated and propagated and despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary there will always be a segment of people who will remain susceptible to exploitation by lawyers and politicians who are concerned about their careers rather than our American democratic institutions,” he said. “Refusing to recognize that this election was safe, secure and accurate can be viewed as nothing less than attacking the peaceful transfer of power.”

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