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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone November 8, 2022

No evidence George Soros has funded voting machines in the US

If Your Time is short

  • A spokesperson for George Soros said the billionaire philanthropist has no investment in any company that makes voting machines.

  • Soros’ nonprofit Open Society Foundations also said neither Soros nor the organization has anything to do with voting machines.

  • Voting technology companies Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems have said that Soros has no connection to them.

Billionaire George Soros has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories over the years, mainly due to his financial support of liberal and pro-democracy causes.

A persistent one that claims the philanthropist has sway over voting machines used in U.S. elections came up again before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

A Nov. 6 Instagram post read, "They’re trying to rig the election again! Do not trust the Soros funded voting machines!!!"

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We’ve debunked similar claims about Soros and voting machines in the past, as have other fact-checkers

Soros doesn’t own or invest in any companies that make voting machines, said Michael Vachon, a spokesperson for Soros. He called the Instagram post’s claim "bogus" and "nonsensical."

Local city and county governments are largely responsible for financing elections, which includes purchasing voting equipment. State and federal governments also provide some funding. 

In 2020, the Center for Tech and Civic Life stepped in to offer $350 million in grants to election offices around the country, due to unexpected expenses to safely hold elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The center is funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — a philanthropy primarily funded by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

But such private funding is not common. After backlash over the grant money in the 2020 election, 21 states have since passed laws that ban, limit or regulate the use of private or philanthropic money for elections.

Featured Fact-check

There’s no evidence that Soris has provided any funding to election offices. A look at grants awarded by Open Society Foundations, the nonprofit group founded by Soros, did not show any such grants in 2020. 

Though this claim didn’t specify a particular voting machine or technology company, past claims have tried, and failed, to tie Soros’ money to Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems

Sidney Powell, an attorney with former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, and others pushed a baseless conspiracy that the two companies worked with Soros and Venezuela to steal the election from Trump. False election tampering claims have resulted in defamation lawsuits filed by both companies.

There is a thin connection between Smartmatic and Soros. Mark Mulloch-Brown was formerly the chairman of Smartmatic while also serving as a global board member for Open Society Foundations. Mulloch-Brown was appointed president of Soros’ foundation in January 2021, and is no longer chairman of Smartmatic.

Open Society Foundations, which bills itself as "the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights," has denied any connection between Soros, the nonprofit and voting machines.

The nonprofit wrote in a 2020 Facebook post that, "Neither we nor our founder George Soros has anything to do with voting machines and how they function."

Smartmatic’s equipment was not used in the 2016 election, and was only used in Los Angeles County in 2020 and in the 2022 midterms. The system provided to the county "does not count, tabulate or store votes," Smartmatic said on its website. It provides ballot-marking devices and other technology, according to Smartmatic

Smartmatic also said on its website that Soros has no involvement in the company. Dominion said in a Jan. 25, 2021, court filing that it, too, has no connection to Soros.

Our ruling

An Instagram post claims that election machines are funded by Soros in an attempt to rig the midterm elections. 

Soros has no stake in any company that makes voting machines, his spokesperson said. There is also no evidence that Soros has provided grant money to elections officials to buy equipment. We rate this False.

Our Sources

Instagram post, Nov. 7, 2022

Email exchange with Michael Vachon, a spokesperson for George Soros, Nov. 7, 2022

Smartmatic, "Lawsuit Updates & Fact Checks," accessed Nov. 7, 2022

Smartmatic, "Los Angeles County: Building & deploying VSAP, a model for 21st Century elections," accessed Nov. 8, 2022

Dominion Voting Systems, "Complaint & court filings: Defamation suit against Sidney Powell and related parties," Jan. 25, 2021 

Open Society Foundations, Facebook post, Nov. 10, 2020

Open Society Foundations, "Who we are: Mark Malloch-Brown," accessed Nov. 7, 2022

Open Society Foundations, "Patrick Gaspard to Step Down as Head of Open Society Foundations," Dec. 4, 2020

The Associated Press, "Soros does not own voting machine company Smartmatic," March 13, 2020

CNN, "Does the Dominion Voting Systems organization have ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, George Soros and the Clinton Foundation?

National Conference of State Legislatures, "Prohibiting Private Funding of Elections," Aug. 24, 2022

National Conference of State Legislatures, "Election Costs: Who Pays and With Which Funds?" March 2018

Verified Voting, "Voting Solutions For All People," accessed Nov. 8, 2022

The New York Times, "Trump Campaign Knew Lawyers’ Voting Machine Claims Were Baseless, Memo Shows," updated Oct. 13, 2022

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No evidence George Soros has funded voting machines in the US

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