Saturday, April 01, 2006

MiamiHerald.com | 03/27/2006 | Forget Dubai -- worry about Smartmatic instead

MiamiHerald.com | Forget Dubai -- worry about Smartmatic instead- Chavez's plan to rig America's election:

BY RICHARD BRAND
rmb381@nyu.edu

The greater threat to our nation's security comes not from Dubai and its pro-Western government, but from Venezuela, where software engineers with links to the leftist, anti-American regime of Hugo Chavez are programming electronic voting machines that will soon power U.S. elections.

Congress spent two weeks overreacting to news that Dubai Ports World would operate several American ports, including Miami's, but a better target for their hysteria would be the acquisition by Smartmatic International of California-based Sequoia Voting Systems, whose machines serve millions of U.S. voters. That Smartmatic -- which has been accused by Venezuela's opposition of helping Chavez rig elections in his favor -- now controls a major U.S. e-voting firm should give pause to anybody who thinks that replacing our antiquated butterfly ballots and hanging chads will restore Americans' faith in our electoral process.

Consider the lack of confidence Venezuelans have in their voting system. Anti-Chavez groups have such little faith in Smartmatic's machines that they refuse to run candidates in elections anymore as reports surface of fraud and irregularities from Chavez's 2004 victory in a recall referendum. Yet somehow Smartmatic International and its Venezuelan owners were able to purchase Sequoia last year without the deal receiving any scrutiny from federal regulators -- including the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), which is tasked with determining whether foreign takeovers pose security risks."

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