epa05619385 Voters cast their US Presidential ballots after waiting in a line of nearly four-hours long during weekend early voting at a polling place in North Hollywood, California 05 November 2016. The general election is scheduled to take place 08 November 2016, but California allows early voting at select polling places in the weekends before. The Secretary of State's office is in charge of the voting process in California. EPA/EUGENE GARCIA

US army raid on voting machine company doesn’t tally up

AAP FactCheck December 8, 2020

The Statement

A Facebook post by an Australian user, who describes himself as an “independent journalist, Patriot, Truth teller”, claims a “voting machine company” was recently raided by the US military in Germany to seize the company’s servers and secure “evidence of the role they played in the massive US election fraud”.

The post claims the company, Scytl, “is involved with electoral commissions in both Victoria and Queensland” and goes on to say both states “have at the helm, left wing premiers that are connected, directly and/or ideologically to disgraced political candidate Joe Biden in Dan Andrews and Annastacia Palaszczuk”.

“For any Aussie brothers and sisters who may think the USA election fraud scandal doesn’t affect us it does. In so many ways,” the post warns.

At the time of publication, the November 27 post had been shared more than 320 times and generated more than 150 reactions and 16,000 views.

A Facebook post
 A post claims a firm was raided to seize evidence of the role they played in the “US election fraud” 

The Analysis

As President Donald Trump continues to denounce the US election result and pursue court action to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, conspiracy theories over the voting process and voting machines have mounted.

The Facebook post’s purported raid on election technology company Scytl is among them.

The false claims about Scytl appear to have originated from comments made on November 12 by Republican member of Congress Louie Gohmert in an interview with conservative TV station Newsmax (video mark 4min 30sec) that the US army had seized “the Scytl server”.

Mr Gohmert’s claim was cited in an article by GreatGameIndia on November 14, along with the suggestion that “US Military raided voting machine company Scytl servers in Germany for evidence of manipulation in US 2020 elections after it was exposed in vote switching scandal”.

The article cited intelligence sources and included Mr Gohmert’s comments from a Facebook video conference call, in which he said that Scytl was headquartered in Frankfurt.

“I don’t know the truth,” Mr Gohmert said (video mark 1min 37sec). “I know that there was a German tweet in German saying that on Monday, US Army forces went into Scytl and grabbed their server.”

However, there is no credible evidence to support the story. A US Army spokesman told Associated Press the allegations that the army engaged in an operation to recover servers in Germany were false.

Meanwhile, Scytl said in a statement that it did not provide electronic voting machines to any US jurisdictions, nor was it involved in vote counting or tabulation. It added that it has no offices in Frankfurt and it had last used servers in the city for a 2019 project for the European parliament. The company’s website lists its only European offices as in Barcelona, Paris and Athens.

The German military raid story has been widely debunked – see here, here, here and here.

GreatGameIndia is an Indian website that has previously been the source of misinformation such as a January article that claimed China “stole” the coronavirus from Canada and turned it into a bioweapon. The falsehood went viral before it was denounced.

NewsGuard describes the site as promoting “false and unsubstantiated health care conspiracy theories”, adding that it “severely violates basic standards of credibility and transparency”.

Regarding Scytl’s links to the electoral commissions of Victoria and Queensland, Scytl Australia director Sam Campbell told AAP FactCheck the company provides no services to the Victorian Electoral Commission, although it is active in the Sunshine State.

“Scytl currently provides training services to the staff of the Queensland Electoral Commission (ECQ) via an online service and has done this since 2015,” Mr Campbell said in an email.

However, he said Scytl does not provide electronic voting machine services to either Victoria or Queensland. He added that Scytl does not tabulate, tally or count votes for elections in Queensland or Victoria.

“Scytl, with its partner HP, provided limited trials to polling place vote collection to assist the blind for the 2006 and 2010 (Victorian) state elections,” Mr Campbell said. Details of those projects can be read here.

He said the training services that Scytl provides for ECQ staff is “based on Queensland legislated electoral processes, and provided via an online learning management system. This has been in use variously by the ECQ since 2015 covering various state and council election events”.

Scytl has also worked with the Western Australian Electoral Commission and the New South Wales Electoral Commission in relation to iVote electronic-voting systems.

Questions were raised in 2019 over the security of the New South Wales system at that year’s state poll, however the New South Wales Electoral Commission said there had been no indication or possibility of interference.

Voters cast their US Presidential ballots
 US military did not raid Scytl’s servers in Germany for evidence of manipulation in the US election. 

The Verdict

The post’s central claim is based on false information. There is no credible evidence that Scytl was raided by the US military in Germany, and the company does not list any offices in the country.

Scytl currently provides no services to the Victorian Electoral Commission, although it does provide training services to the staff of Queensland Electoral Commission. The company also told AAP FactCheck it did not tabulate, tally or count votes for elections in either Queensland or Victoria.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

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