Congressional Democrats had raised security concerns about Dominion, other voting machine companies

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, three other Hill Democrats said in series of letters to investment firms that voting machine companies "have long skimped on security in favor of convenience."

Published: November 14, 2020 3:35pm

Updated: November 14, 2020 7:12pm

Democratic leaders of Congress warned last year in a series of letters that election technology companies such as Dominion Voting Systems were "prone to security problems," a result of them having purportedly "long skimped on security in favor of convenience."

The allegations were detailed in a series of letters sent in December 2019 by Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden and Amy Klobuchar, along with Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan.

The letters were addressed to several capital investment groups that had purchased shares in numerous election software companies. 

Among those companies was Dominion Voting Systems, stakes in which had been acquired by Staple Street Capital Group, in New York City.

Dominion has been plagued by reports of glitchy software in at least several voting jurisdictions throughout the country since Election Day 2020. 

Dominion has "categorically" denied reports of fraudulent software on its systems, stating that there has been no evidence that its voting systems were "in any way compromised."

Last year, however, the Democratic leaders were less certain of that security. 

"We have concerns about the spread and effect of private equity investment in many sectors of the economy," the politicians wrote, "including the election technology industry – an integral part of our nation's democratic process."

"We are particularly concerned," they continued, quoting several news reports, "that secretive and 'trouble-plagued companies,' owned by private equity firms and responsible for manufacturing and maintaining voting machines and other election administration equipment, 'have long skimped on security in favor of convenience,' leaving voting systems across the country 'prone to security problems.' "

The letter referred to Dominion as "one of three election technology vendors responsible for developing, manufacturing and maintaining the vast majority of voting machines and software in the United States."

The lawmakers named the other two companies as Election Systems & Software and Hart InterCivic.

"Concentration in the election technology market," the letter continues, "and the fact that vendors are often 'more seasoned in voting machine and technical services contract negotiations' than local election officials, give these companies incredible power in their negotiations with local and state governments."

"As a result," the letter also states, "jurisdictions are often caught in expensive agreements in which the same vendor both sells or leases, and repairs and maintains voting systems-leaving local officials dependent on the vendor, and the vendor with little incentive to substantially overhaul and improve its products."

The lawmakers asked Staple Street and two other investment firms for detailed records on their holdings in various election system companies, including a rundown of "all state and local jurisdictions with which [each election software] company has a contract to provide election related products or services."

It's unclear whether or how the firms responded.

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