His Machines Are Allowed to Count Millions of American Votes, But He's Not Allowed to Visit
By John Gideon on 10/17/2005, 9:36pm PT  

{Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org}

The CEO of Smartmatic Inc., Antonio Mujica, has been denied a tourist visa by the US embassy and will not be allowed to return to the United States according to a recent report in VCRISIS, a Venezuelan news source.

Smartmatic Inc. is the Florida-registered, Venezuelan-owned parent corporation of Sequoia Voting Systems, one of the leading voting machine companies in the US. Its ownership has also been tied to Hugo Chavez and other shadowy multi-national organizations.

No reason is given for denying renewal of Mujica's visa in the VCRISIS article which describes an agitated confrontation with US Embassy officials. According to the story, Mujica "argued that he was legal, that he had an important company in the USA and that he had to travel with urgency to that country."

Sequoia Voting Systems was recently purchased by Smartmatic from a UK firm for $16 million. The surprisingly small sale price has brought into question the stability of Sequoia Voting Systems, which would seemingly stand ready to make millions of dollars in sales of voting systems around the United States as money from the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) continues to pour out to counties and states. However, the company's ability to provide technical support to their customers has now come into question as this blogger was recently told by a high level official at a competing American-owned voting machine company.

Sequoia is also involved in a lawsuit filed by attorney Paul Lehto in Snohomish County, Washington. The suit calls for the county's contract to be voided with the company due to the proprietary "trade secret" software used by the company. Lehto has published a report detailing a number of disturbing irregularities found in Snohomish's general election last November.

The Smartmatic company slogan is "All Things Connected". Setting aside whether all things being connected in an election system is a good thing (it isn't), their website has the following text on the front page:

�Smartmatic is the device networking company.
We envision a world where everything will be connected.
And we're making it happen... here and now.

The irony here...and now...of course, is that the entire situation demonstrates how utterly dysfunctional the election administration in America has become. While US law allows a Venezuelan man to control the secret counting of America's votes, the US State Department doesn't consider him fit to enter the country, even temporarily.

Further pointing out the absurdity of it all, in a media release published earlier today at VoteTrustUSA, Ellen Theisen, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org says, "It's ironic that when we take vote-counting to Iraq, we take it in the form of paper ballots deposited into clear plastic ballot boxes, but in our own country, vote-counting is in the form of electronic ballots and secret software controlled by a man our government has declared ineligible to set foot in the country."

Just another day in the decline of American democracy...