The outgoing president of the United States is using an unlikely source in his attempt to deny the result of the U.S. election that he lost earlier this month: the Canadian elections authority.
While the president continues to deny the election results and spur unfounded conspiracy theories about the electoral system, Elections Canada says it, too, is receiving a “large number” of questions from people believing false claims about Canada’s electoral system.
The misinformation surrounds Dominion Voting Systems, a company that produces vote tabulating and reporting technology, with customers in 28 American states, according to its website.
Dominion, whose international headquarters are in Toronto, became the focus of multiple unfounded attacks by Donald Trump and his supporters claiming its machines made mistakes leading to the election of Joe Biden. In fact, a Department of Homeland Security official called the November 3 election “the most secure in American history.”
“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” reads a portion of a statement released by the American Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council on November 12.
Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted that Chris Krebs, who leads the cyber arms of the Department of Homeland Security, was terminated “immediately” as a result of the statement on election security.
The Elections Canada Twitter account Monday tweeted information that Elections Canada does not use Dominion Voting Systems.
“In Canadian federal elections, we use paper ballots that are counted by hand in front of scrutineers,” reads the text on the tweet’s accompanying graphic. “We do NOT use machines to count ballots.”
That was the message Trump picked up, with his “this says it all” annotation added, seemingly, to imply that Elections Canada does not trust the voting technology.
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An Elections Canada Twitter account said Tuesday that its tweet should not be viewed as anything other than an attempt to correct misinformation.
“Our message on Twitter was intended to respond to the large number of questions we had received from people who mistakenly believed we use automated tabulating systems in federal elections,” an agency spokesperson said in an email to the Star. “It shouldn’t be construed as anything other than that.”
Although there is no evidence of any voter machine malfunction taking place in the U.S. election, misinformation about faulty voting machines has been spreading rapidly through right-wing and conspiracy theory media — including in Canada.
The allegations against Dominion in particular are wide-ranging and scathing.
The most basic allegations are that the machines erred on and after election night, failing to count some ballots or “switching” votes intended for Donald Trump to Joe Biden (there is no evidence of this taking place).
The more sinister allegations charge that Dominion itself was complicit in a scheme to rig the election results because of unfounded connections to Democrats.
These allegations are also unfounded, and Dominion has provided granular responses to conspiracy theories about its operations on its website.
The far-right Canadian media site Rebel News, run by erstwhile Sun News Network host Ezra Levant, jumped on the Dominion conspiracy train this week, with writer Keean Bexte publishing false information that Dominion Voting Systems machines destroyed ballots in the 2020 Canadian Conservative leadership race.
The media outlet has since apologized for publishing the incorrect information, calling it a “mistake.” An article implying Dominion is inappropriately connected to Democrats and liberals remains on the site.
Alex McKeen is a Vancouver-based reporter covering transportation and labour for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @alex_mckeen
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