A petition to remove George Soros-owned electronic voting machines from 16 states has gone viral, garnering more than 70,000 signatures in just a few days as people try to stop what they believe could be election fraud from the billionaire Democrat.
There’s just one problem with the movement — George Soros doesn’t actually own voting machines and the company targeted with the petition won’t have a single electronic voting machine in the United States this Election Day.
The story appears to have been born out of the claims made by Donald Trump that Hillary Clinton and Democrats are planning to commit voter fraud in the upcoming election. While Trump’s claims have been devoid of any details and no evidence of voter fraud or plans to commit it, this week the focus turned to George Soros, the billionaire who has been backing Democratic candidates and efforts.
Stories spread among the far edges of the internet that Soros was employing electronic voting machines owned by his company to 16 states, where they could be ripe for vote-rigging. That led someone to start a “We the People” White House petition calling on U.S. government officials to put a stop to plans to use the George Soros voting machines.
“This man has been linked to a persons campaign who is running in the election and has a clear bias to one candidate. His ownership of voting machines in 16 states is clear breach of integrity of our electoral system.”
The George Soros voting machine petition quickly went viral, spreading on social media. Posts circulating the petition also received thousands of user votes on the Donald Trump Reddit page, The_Donald.
The Daily Caller, a right-leaning news site that has a bit more credibility than the majority of blogs perpetuating the George Soros voting machine story, even issued a straightforward report on the story before later noting that it was a hoax.
“Smartmatic, a U.K.-based voting technology company with deep ties to George Soros, has provided voting technology in 16 states including battleground zones like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia,” the report noted. “Other jurisdictions affected are California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.”
Other reports warned voters to be on the lookout for the Smartmatic voting machines, telling them to demand paper ballots if their polling location had the machines.
The hoax gained traction thanks in large part to the empty warnings from Donald Trump about widespread voter fraud. The Republican Party’s candidate has mentioned frequently on the campaign trail that he believes the election will be stolen from him, even as experts say there is no real threat of that happening.
“Are there cases of voter fraud? Absolutely, there are cases of voter fraud,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon A. Husted, a Republican, told CNN (via the Washington Times). “But it’s rare, and we catch these people. Most times, we catch them before their vote is even counted and we hold them accountable, and we’re building a better system every single day.”
The reports even led the voting machine company to speak out. On Tuesday, Smartmatic released a statement clarifying that George Soros had no connection to the company, and added another very important bit.
“Smartmatic will not be deploying its technology in any U.S. county for the upcoming 2016 U.S. Presidential elections,” the company noted.
There is a tenuous connection between Smartmatic and George Soros. The company’s chairman, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, has served alongside Soros on the Open Society Foundation, a global non-profit that makes grants to civil society organizations.
Despite the reports debunking the George Soros voting machine story, it appears that the White House will have to answer to it. The petition has been steadily moving toward the 100,000 mark needed to garner an official response.
[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]