By Bev Harris, founder of BlackBoxVoting.org
A press release today about the planned expansion of Unisyn into more USA locations renews attention on foreign ownership of corporations selling voting systems into the United States.
Unisyn is owned by a Malaysian gambling outfit. Another major elections industry player, Canada's Dominion, purchased the massive Diebold Election Systems division (which it shares with ES&S); Dominion also owns Smartmatic, which handles electronic vote-counting in the Philippines and Belgium. Military voting is now handled in several states by Barcelona, Spain-owned Scytl. In January 2012, Scytl acquired the largest election results reporting firm, SOE Software.
Accenture, now based in Dublin Ireland (formerly headquartered in tax-haven Bermuda), claims copyright over the massive electronic voter registration/voter history databases used in several states, including Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Colorado, Wisconsin and Arkansas. Accenture purchased its voter registration unit from Election.com, a Saudi-owned company based in the Cayman Islands.
Because a computer will only do what it's programmers and administrators tell it to do, whoever issues the commands gains ultimate control over how it receives, counts, and reports votes, voter registrations, and voter histories.
UNISYN: According to Barry Herron (formerly of Diebold Election Systems), now Director of Sales for Unisyn, "Unisyn and our business partners are actively supporting installations in the States of Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. We intend to expand into other states in late 2012 and early 2013."
Unisyn also recently made inroads into Puerto Rico. Another Unisyn election product called "Inkavote" is used in 4 million-voter Los Angeles County (Calif) and in Jackson County Missouri.
THE MALAYSIAN GAMBLING CONNECTION:
Black Box Voting exposed the Malaysian outfit behind Unisyn in 2005. Excerpts from our 2005 report by Bev Harris and Kathleen Wynne:
Unisyn is an entity set up by parent company International Lottery and Totalizator Systems (ILTS). A politically-connected Malaysian gambling outfit owns ILTS.
According to SEC filings, Berjaya Lottery Management -- a gaming subsidiary of Berjaya Group Berhad, located in Malaysia -- owns 71% of the voting stock in ILTS, the company that makes InkaVote.
InkaVote's parent, Berjaya Group is controlled by Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, a crony of Mahathir Mohamad, who was Malaysian prime minister until 2003. Mahathir's government was denounced for human-rights abuses and corporate corruption.
When Mahathir Mohamad retired two years ago, he was succeeded by the man who rushed to his side at the retirement, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, of the same party. The shareholders of Berjaya Group, the parent of InkaVote, reportedly include Mokhzani Mahathir, son of Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad.
From the Berjaya Group Berhad Annual Report to Stock Shareholders, 1994: "The Berjaya Group is a large, diversified conglomerate, including seven public and about 200 private companies."
Directors of Berjaya include Danny Tan Chee Sing, one of a small group of Chinese capitalists closely associated with Malay politicians, and Jaffar Bin Abdul, the former Inspector General of Police.
Tony Yeong, Managing Director of Berjaya Group (Cayman), resigned over allegations of an attempt to bribe the Solomon Islands' Commerce, Employment and Trade Minister. Yeong insisted it was an accepted practice for a company such as Berjaya to show its appreciation to those in government who assisted the company.
The rise of key Chinese businessmen in Malaysian corporations was linked to influential politicians. It turns out that what happens to the corporations depends on whether their patrons remain in power.
More on Malaysian owners:
Filing (March 15 2005, for 4th qtr 2004) - shows 71% ownership by Berjaya Lottery Systems of Malaysia:
(pdf file, 1,041 KB)
Filing that mentions plans for selling voting machines:
(pdf file, 254 KB)
ELECTION.COM, THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, AND ACCENTURE
In Chapter 8 of my book, Black Box Voting, written in 2003, I revealed the strange history of what is now Accenture voter registration systems. Election.com, now part of Accenture, was owned by unnamed Saudi investors through a group headquartered in the Cayman Islands.
This entity was awarded a portion of the contract for military voting in the U.S. by the Pentagon. Very soon after Accenture aquired Election.com, as Accenture also aquired the Pentagon contract for SERVE. (Internet voting).
More about Saudi-owned, Cayman Islands-based Election.com, now run by Accenture:
SPAIN-OWNED INTERNET VOTING COMPANY -- SCYTL -- AND RESULTS REPORTING FIRM -- SOE SOFTWARE
In January 2012, Black Box Voting reported that Barcelona-owned Internet voting firm Scytl had purchased another company, which handles a different part of USA elections: SOE Software.
Scytl, so far, just counts military and overseas votes in a few states. SOE Software is not part of the Internet voting project; SOE reports votes coming out of ES&S, Dominion, Hart Intercivic and Sequoia touchscreens and optical scans.
Often, SOE actually hosts and runs what looks like the county election Web site. SOE pulls its information electronically from county central tabulators, either wired in directly or in some locations, through a USB stick transfer.
After information goes from voting machines into the county central tabulator, it travels to Tampa, Florida into the SOE system, and is posted on sites like ClarityElections.com (the host domain owned by SOE) or at Web sites which appear with county names, but actually come from Tampa's SOE.
IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF USA ELECTION SOFTWARE?
Not if you don't mind some unknown guys working offshore controlling whatever they choose to in the software processing votes and voters.
Originally posted at BlackBoxVoting