Smartmatic is suing right-wing media outlets Newsmax and OAN for defamation over election conspiracy theories

Georgia voting
In this Nov. 3, 2020, file photo, a poll worker talks to a voter before they vote on a paper ballot on Election Day in Atlanta. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File
  • Smartmatic is suing Newsmax and One America News over election conspiracy theories.
  • It alleges the two right-wing networks defamed them by pushing false claims that it rigged 2020 election results.
  • The company joins Dominion, a rival company also targeted by conspiracy theorists, in filing defamation lawsuits.

Smartmatic filed lawsuits against right-wing media networks One America News Network and Newsmax on Wednesday, claiming that the outlets defamed the election technology company by pushing conspiracy theories over the 2020 US presidential election.

“The damage to Smartmatic from this parallel universe of lies and disinformation has reverberated across the United States and in dozens of countries around the world,” Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said in a statement. “The global repercussions for our company cannot be overstated.”

Smartmatic, along with the rival election technology company Dominion Voting Systems, were both subjects of conspiracy theories falsely alleging they were in cahoots with each other, developed secret vote-flipping technology under the regime of now-dead Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and manipulated the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Both companies have filed numerous defamation lawsuits against conspiracy theorists and the companies they alleged helped push those false claims.

The company has already sued Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, two attorneys who worked for then-President Donald Trump and pushed the false theories. Smartmatic’s new lawsuits claim that Newsmax and OAN defamed the company by giving a platform to Powell and Giuliani to uncritically make their false claims. The lawsuits, which collectively run to nearly 440 pages, also say the networks’ own hosts made false claims about Smartmatic’s role in the 2020 election and booked other guests who knew little about election administration but lied about Smartmatic anyway.

“The first time it happened could be a mistake. The second, third, fourth and fiftieth times it happened were intentional choices,” Smartmatic’s attorneys wrote in its lawsuit against the company. “OANN had every opportunity to do the right thing after the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. It could have reported the truth. Instead, OANN chose to do the wrong thing every time. It reported a lie.”

Smartmatic operated in only one county in 2020

The lawsuit against One America News (OAN) was filed in federal court in Washington, DC, and the suit against Newsmax was filed in Delaware state court.

The lawsuits point out an irony in the falsehoods levied against Smartmatic. While conspiracy theorists have sought to depict it as a massive, shadowy company that influenced the outcome in elections nationwide, the truth is that only one US county used Smartmatic’s technology in the 2020 election: Los Angeles, where now-President Joe Biden was widely expected to win.

“Given that Smartmatic had no role in the general election outside of Los Angeles County, Smartmatic had no reason to be concerned about being embroiled in a discussion about election outcomes in some of the states where the vote tally was closer than it was in California,” the lawsuits read. “For example, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin were states where the vote tally between the Democratic and Republican nominees for President and Vice President were much closer than the margin in California. But Smartmatic had no role whatsoever in the elections that took place in those states.”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.