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Inquiry Call into Voting Machine Co. Ownership

For immediate release
May 31, 2006
http://www.VoteTrustUSA.org

Election Watchdog Group backs Congressional call for Inquiry into Voting Machine Company’s Foreign Ownership

Third Largest Voting Machine Producer may be tied to Venezuelan Government; Citizens’ Group, Congresswoman call for inquiry

Citing national security concerns, the non-profit public integrity group VoteTrustUSA.org voiced support for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s call to investigate the ownership of Sequoia Voting Systems. A leading producer of computerized voting systems used in the U.S., Sequoia was purchased by the Venezuelan-owned Smartmatic International last year. In 2004, Smartmatic partnered with Bizta, a company owned partially by the Venezuelan Government of Hugo Chavez.

In the March Chicago primary, over a dozen Venezuelan nationals were present in the tabulation room, to ‘support’ the computation of the results according to testimony of Jack Blaine, Smartmatic President and CEO at a recent Chicago City Council hearing.

“Control of our election system must be considered a national security issue. The American voter deserves to know who is programming the software that will count their votes,” said Joan Krawitz, Executive Director of VoteTrustUSA.org. “The manufacturers of e-voting systems claim the software code as their ‘proprietary intellectual property’, preventing any independent examination. It is intolerable that a foreign-owned company with possible ties to a foreign government should be able to purchase that kind of power over our electoral system without any government oversight or investigation.”

“Just as the Dubai ports deal was a priority security issue, any potential foreign influence on our elections system is vital to our national security and deserves at least a look,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “It doesn’t seem that the deal for Sequoia was vetted by our government, and I want to know why.”

Representative Maloney has questioned whether the sale of Sequoia to Smartmatic was reviewed by the Department of Treasury or vetted in the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) process.

Editor’s Note: VoteTrustUSA is a non-partisan, not-for-profit network organization, serving more than 50 state and county-based election integrity groups in 32 states.

VoteTrustUSA website: http://www.VoteTrustUSA.org

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