Dominion Voting logo on a phone (file image)
Dominion Voting has filed multiple lawsuits against people and media firms over discredited claims.

NZ voting machine claim pushes the wrong buttons

Nik Dirga November 1, 2022

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bought Dominion Voting machines for use in elections.


False. The prime minister has not purchased the machines and they've never been used in NZ elections.

Almost two years after Donald Trump lost his re-election bid, conspiracy theories about voting technology are still being used to claim elections in other countries are illegitimate.

An Instagram post (archived here) claims New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has purchased Dominion Voting Systems machines and infers elections are being rigged.

The post includes a distorted mash-up of images, graphics and video clips which question the legitimacy of the 2020 general election.

Text with the post states: “Dominion voting machines being questioned all over the world you think New Zealand is ok? Jacinda brought (sic) dominion machine from the Clinton’s …”

The claim has been repeatedly shared since posted in February 2021 and has resurfaced recently following the local government elections.

A screenshot of the Instagram post.
 The Instagram post says Jacinda Ardern has purchased Dominion Voting machines from the Clintons. 

The claim is false. Election officials say New Zealand has never used the machines as votes in general elections are counted by hand. Experts also told AAP FactCheck the claim is blatant misinformation.

Additionally Dominion has repeatedly denied any claims of rigging, filing multiple lawsuits against parties spreading misinformation.

New Zealand recently held local government elections and faces a general election in 2023. The general election, which determines the parliament, and local government elections, which elect mayors and councils, are run in different ways.

The New Zealand Electoral Commission, which runs general elections, told AAP FactCheck it doesn’t use Dominion machines.

“All (general election) votes are counted by hand in New Zealand. We do not use vote counting machines,” the commission states on its website.

Council elections are the responsibility of local authorities across New Zealand. Each council appoints an electoral officer to conduct its election, and two private providers – ElectionNZ and Election Services – to process the votes, the commission told AAP FactCheck.

“Dominion voting machines are not used in NZ for local government elections, and haven’t ever been,” a commission representative said in an email.

“Votes are processed using high-speed scanning and recognition software by the two providers that carry out council elections.”

NZ election experts also told AAP FactCheck the claim is false.

Jack Vowles, a professor of political science at Victoria University of Wellington who has led the New Zealand Election Study since 1996, says the nation has never used Dominion machines to count votes.

“All the claims made by Trump and co. about them are false,” Professor Vowles said in an email.

“In New Zealand we don’t use voting machines, we have paper ballots.”

Andy Asquith, a local government expert at Curtin University who has written extensively on NZ elections, also rubbished the post’s claim.

He said the suggestion that the Prime Minister or New Zealand had purchased the machines was “simply internet hogwash.”

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern casting her vote in 2020 (file image)
 NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern casting her vote in Auckland during the 2020 general election. 

Dominion has been the subject of conspiracy theories since the 2020 US Presidential election.

In a November 12, 2020 tweet, Trump shared claims Dominion “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes”.

Dominion has spoken out against such claims and filed defamation suits against US media organisations like Fox News, Newsmax and OAN, along with Trump allies such as lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Investigations by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency found no wrongdoing by the company. While some vulnerabilities and flaws were found in Dominion’s machines, there was no evidence they were exploited to alter election results.

AAP FactCheck has debunked similar claims made in Australia about Dominion. Other fact-check organisations have debunked claims about them being used in New Zealand’s 2020 general election.

The Verdict

The claim New Zealand and/or Jacinda Ardern purchased Dominion Voting Systems machines for elections is false. The Electoral Commission and election experts rubbished the claim and told AAP FactCheck the nation has never used Dominion voting machines.

Conspiracy theories and claims about Dominion have been frequently debunked and are the subject of multiple defamation lawsuits in the US.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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