Locals react to statements that California voting software is fraudulent
Santa Barbara County, along with 40 other counties in California and numerous counties in 28 other states, uses Dominion voting systems.
Thursday night, President Donald Trump’s legal team told reporters that the software “stole the vote” from Mr. Trump.
His attorney, Sidney Powell, said in a press conference that there was foreign interference in the systems.
“The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic technology software and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out,” she said. “One of (the software’s) most characteristic features is its ability to flip votes. It can set and run an algorithm that probably ran all over the country to take a certain percentage of votes from President Trump and flip them to President Biden.”
According to an Associated Press fact check, Smartmatic is an international company incorporated in Florida by Venezuelan founders, but does not have any ties to Venezuela.
In addition, the AP said that there’s no evidence that any of Dominion’s systems switched votes for Mr. Trump to count as votes for Mr. Biden, based on a statement by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which oversees U.S. election security.
Joe Holland, the Santa Barbara County registrar of voters, told the News-Press, “None of it is true,” and he said he knows nothing about Venezuela.
“We’ve been working with Dominion for years,” he said. “It’s a tried and true and trusted system, and we audit 1% of all the precincts, then cover every contest, and we’ve never had an issue whatsoever.”
He said from time to time with votes by mail, parents of a college student will sign their vote-by-mail ballot and officials can tell it’s not the signature of the student, so they don’t count the ballot and inform the students they didn’t count it and why.
“That’s about the extent of the problems,” said Mr. Holland, who’s also the county clerk, recorder and assessor. “It just doesn’t exist on any level besides the one-offs like that… We don’t see any fraud whatsoever.”
The office utilizes a machine that looks at signatures digitally and compares them to previous signatures. If it’s a very good match, they’re accepted, and according to Mr. Holland, that’s the case for 50% of the ballots.
For the other 50% that may not be a good match or high quality, employees look at them to determine their validity.
“We’re looking at 100,000 of the signatures with our own eyes,” he said. “It’s a completely open and transparent process.”
Mr. Holland also addressed the claims that out-of-town UCSB students’ votes were counted illegally, which have been discussed by local Republicans.
A UCSB student who plans to go back to UCSB can vote through their UCSB address from that precinct, according to Mr. Holland.
“The law is, as a student, you can vote either at your original home or at your student address, and most students don’t plan on going back home. That’s kind of their transition in life,” he said. “It’s totally legal. There’s been complaints about this for years and years and years, and it’s just the law.”
Mr. Holland added that despite the adjustments that had to be made, such as only having 35 in-person polling places instead of the usual 86, there was a 10% increase in people voting under new circumstances.
In addition, the office was completely connected to voter information electronically, so there was no opportunity to vote twice in California.
“We conducted this election during a pandemic, and we conducted it safely and securely,” he said.
Andy Caldwell, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal’s Republican challenger for the 24th district who did not win the election, said that because he lost by tens of thousands of votes, he accepts the defeat and doesn’t think any proof of fraud would change the results.
“Having said all that, it is not unbelievable that the now notorious Dominion election system could have been hacked and manipulated,” Mr. Caldwell, executive director of the Coalition of Labor and Agriculture, said in a statement to the News-Press. “Both Democrats and Republicans have been raising that question for years.”
Mr. Caldwell, a Nipomo resident and a News-Press columnist, said he believes Sidney Powell has a credible reputation, but he needs evidence.
“When she (Ms. Powell) said she had hard evidence, that she was going to release the Kraken, I wanted to believe her because that is the only theory that could explain fraud involving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of votes across state lines,” he said. “However, what was the purpose of (Thursday’s) Trump team press conference? A Supreme Court is going to need and demand hard proof that there was enough corruption and fraud to throw out an apparent election result.
“I am waiting, and so is about half of America who is holding out hope that America is now entering a dark winter,” Mr. Caldwell said.
Rep. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, was not available to comment on the matter on Friday.
Bobbi McGinnis, the Santa Barbara County Republican Party chairwoman, said she is skeptical of the Dominion software’s set points on signatures and at what point they are rejected.
“What I’m hoping for is that the Supreme Court recognizes Sidney Powell is not someone who’s a quack… She’s got a great reputation and so does Rudy,” Ms. McGinnis told the News-Press. “If this is true, I think all Americans need to be concerned about the validity of the vote. California is using these machines.”
She said she acknowledges that California is a one-party state and it may not change much locally.
“It makes you wonder about the equipment we use here and why it was installed,” she said. “I don’t fall for people at the county (the Santa Barbara County Elections Division). I don’t even know who sets the standards, who runs the software or the set points on signatures.
“How do we know it hasn’t been tampered with or hacked? All the questions that Sidney Powell and Rudy Guiliani are bringing up about it is going to cause everybody to wonder what’s happening here.”
Gail Teton-Landis, the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party chairwoman, said she was unavailable for comment on Friday, but added, “You must be aware that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Association of State Election Directors described the election as ‘the most secure in American history.’”