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Officials work on ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near Atlanta. (AP) Officials work on ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near Atlanta. (AP)

Officials work on ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Headquarters, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near Atlanta. (AP)

Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone April 17, 2023

Long before Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News for defamation, PolitiFact was fact-checking claims about the election machine maker and its supposed influence over the 2020 election.

Dominion was headed to court April 17 against Fox in Delaware when a judge announced the trial would be delayed a day. Citing unnamed sources, The Washington Post reported the delay was meant to accommodate last-minute settlement talks. Dominion seeks $1.6 billion from Fox in its lawsuit, saying that it "endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies about Dominion."

Before and after the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump and his supporters repeatedly spread baseless claims that Dominion’s election equipment was used to fraudulently tilt the vote count to President Joe Biden.

There was no evidence of widespread fraud, as election officials and court rulings have shown. Dominion alleges that false claims about its equipment have hurt the company’s profits.

In the two-plus years since the election, PolitiFact has debunked numerous claims that alleged Dominion flipped votes from Trump to Biden and manipulated vote counts, or had ties to Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Democratic billionaire donor George Soros. Here’s a look back at what we found. 

Spot a claim we should fact-check about elections? Email us at [email protected].

In this Dec. 12, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington before boarding Marine One. (AP)

  • No votes "deleted." A little more than a week after the Nov. 3 election, Trump tweeted a Pants on Fire! claim that Dominion deleted 2.7 million votes for him nationwide. Trump’s tweet traces back to an unsubstantiated claim on a pro-Trump website that cited Edison Research. But Edison Research told us it found no evidence of voter fraud and state and federal officials said there was no evidence that millions of votes were miscounted.

  • Data not "manipulated." A Gwinnett County elections office did not download data to a universal serial bus flash drive from the election management server and plug it into a laptop to "manipulate the data," as some people falsely claimed a video showed.

  • Dominion never "closed up shop." A Facebook post claimed Dominion had shuttered its offices and its executives were on the run, but that wasn’t true. Employees were urged to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Equipment didn’t change results. Trump lawyer Sidney Powell falsely claimed that voting machines made by Dominion and SmartMatic were created for "changing the results of elections," saying they were used to do so in Venezuela. That claim was rated Pants on Fire! There is no evidence that election equipment was used to manipulate votes, and U.S. election officials said existing safeguards would not allow bad actors to change results if they tried.

  • No flipped votes. We rated Pants on Fire! a claim that Dominion flipped votes from Trump to Biden in states where Trump was bringing legal challengers. Dominion was used in only a few counties that had minor issues, some caused by humans, that were quickly fixed, we found.

  • Servers were not seized. A claim that the U.S. military had seized servers in Germany that were tied to Dominion was Pants on Fire!

  • No pro-Biden glitch. Rock musician Ted Nugent claimed that 47 Michigan counties used the same Dominion software that caused a glitch that fraudulently gave 6,000 votes to Joe Biden. The county, which Trump won by 2,500 votes, did initially show Biden winning by about 3,000 votes, but it was because of a clerk’s error, not Dominion software.

  • No Chavez connection. A viral Facebook video falsely claimed that Dominion was owned by the family of the Venezuelan leader, who died in 2013. The company is owned by a New York-based private equity firm. In its lawsuit, Dominion says Fox also shared this claim.

  • No Nashville bomb connection. On Christmas morning, a bombing in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, damaged an AT&T complex there. Some social media users claimed the explosion was aimed at stopping a forensic audit of Dominion voting machines. But no such audit was taking place in Nashville or by AT&T, we found.

  • Human error in count. Election officials in Ware County, Georgia, said a 37-vote difference in the 2020 presidential election between the initial count and a hand count were because of human error, not a flaw in Dominion software, as a member of Congress claimed.

After Biden took office on Jan. 20, 2021, the false claims about the election and Dominion continued:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, and Sidney Powell, both lawyers for then-President Donald Trump, during a Nov. 19, 2020, news conference  in Washington. (AP)

  • Ruling mischaracterized. A judge did not rule that Dominion voting machines were designed for fraud. The judge ordered that an "audit report" on voting in the 2020 presidential election in Antrim County, Michigan, be released to the public, but did not comment on its contents. Elections officials discredited the report, we wrote in a separate fact-check.

  • Not in Myanmar. Social media posts falsely claimed that Dominion voting machines were used to conduct fraud in Myanmar elections. Myanmar does not use Dominion machines.

  • Lawsuits still active. A social media post falsely claimed that Dominion lost its defamation lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, two of Donald Trump’s lawyers. Those cases were still active.

People stand in protest to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors during their general election canvass meeting Nov. 28, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP)

  • Machines certified. Voting equipment made by Dominion and other companies used in Maricopa County’s midterm elections were properly certified, despite social media claims to the contrary.

  • No Soros connection. A social media post shortly before the Nov. 8 midterm elections warned voters not to trust the Soros-funded voting machines. Soros, the billionaire and Democratic donor who has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories, does not own or invest in Dominion or any election equipment maker.

Want even more about our work on Dominion and the 2020 election? Find it here: 

Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News: What to know before the trial

A Newsmax host shut down MyPillow CEO’s Dominion conspiracy talk. Here’s the background

How Fox News, Newsmax vote-rigging coverage squares with defamation law  

Rudy Giuliani, Trump legal team push conspiracy theories, baseless claims about 2020 election 

46 minutes of falsehoods: Trump rehashes baseless election claims in White House video 

Fact-checking false claims about the 2020 election 

All election fact-checks

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Dominion-Fox lawsuit: Looking back at false claims about voting machine company